SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 62, Issue 6: 886-894(2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-018-9405-5

Fabrication of nanofibrous sensors by electrospinning

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  • ReceivedOct 17, 2018
  • AcceptedDec 5, 2018
  • PublishedApr 4, 2019


This article reviews the techniques and applications of electrospinning for the fabrication of nanofibrous sensors. Considering that nanosensors require a large specific surface area and a continuous structure for the conduction of current signals, electrospun nanofibers have the dominant advantage. The device preparation is mainly divided into surface treatment and high-temperature sintering, which are, respectively, used for preparing composite conductive fibers and inorganic semiconductor fibers. Typical applications include pressure sensing, gas sensing, photoelectric sensing, and temperature sensing. In addition, nano-self-powered systems have been mentioned to emphasize the good performance of smart nanosystems that do not require external power. In addition, we have summarized some existing methods and suggestions for increasing the specific surface area and presented constructive ideas for the future development of these devices.

Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,No.,51673103)

and the Facility Horticulture Laboratory of Universities in Shandong Program(Grant,No.,2018YY053)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51673103), and the Facility Horticulture Laboratory of Universities in Shandong Program (Grant No. 2018YY053). We thank LetPub (www.letpub.com) for its linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Flow chart elaborating the preparation of conductive nanofibers by electrospinning. (a) Preparation of polymer composite conductive nanofibers [28]; (b) preparation of inorganic polymer conductive fibers [29].

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Pressure sensing performance of silver-loaded sodium alginate nanofibers. (a) I-V plots under different pressure conditions; (b) response repeatability under different pressure conditions; (c) response to human respiration after the fiber is applied to the chest; (d) responses to the different words “Nano” and “Perfect” after the fibers are applied to the throat; (e) electrode array map for electronic skin; (f) mapping of the pressure signal [31].

  • Figure 3

    Different patterned membranes collected by different electrode configurations [32].

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) (a) Response curve of PEDOT:PSS/PVP nanofibers to CO and (b) their sensitivity to different concentrations [34]; (c) resistivity change of polyaniline/PMMA composite nanofibers at different ammonia concentrations and (d) their sensitivity [35]; (e) humidity response curve of BaTiO3 nanowires and (f) their recovery performance curve. The humidity response curve is a resistance change diagram in 33% and 97% humidity environments [36].

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) (a) Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of nanofibers obtained by using ultrahigh voltage electrospinning; (b) the diameter profile of the nanofibers, with an average diameter of 68 nm, while the conventional electrospinning obtained fibers with a diameter of 263 nm; (c), (d) ammonia sensing response plots for conventional fibers with a response time greater than 10 s; (e), (f) ammonia sensing response plot of nanofibers with a response time of less than 6 s [37].

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) (a) Image of the mask-integrated silver-loaded sodium alginate fiber; (b) response signal diagrams for different breathing depth conditions; (c), (d) comparison of response signals under different emotions; (e) corresponding signal conditions during normal sleep; (f) comparison of signals in the case of hard breathing (HB) and normal breathing (NB) [28].

  • Figure 7

    (Color online) (a), (b) SEM image comparison of doped ZnO fibers before and after sintering [40]; (c) field effect test configuration of ZnO fiber [40]; (d) transfer characteristics of Ce-doped ZnO [40]; (e) transfer characteristics of La-doped ZnO [38]; (f) I-V curve of La-doped ZnO under different wavelengths of light [38].

  • Figure 8

    (Color online) Near-field printing of zinc oxide nanowire photosensor arrays. (a) Schematic representation of the device for nanowire printing; (b) flexibility demonstration of the nanowire arrays; (c) optical photograph of a nanowire array with a scale bar of 30 μm [41].

  • Figure 9

    (Color online) Invisible wire prepared by electrospinning. (a), (b) Preparation of the nano-strand; (c) schematic representation of the original stranded wire and the wire deposited by carbon nanotubes; (d), (e) use of a conductive wire to power the LED; (f), (g) effect of weaving the wire on white and black cloth; the nanowire is unnoticeable on the black cloth [42].

  • Figure 10

    (Color online) (a) Schematic representation of the bluetooth system used for wireless transmission; (b) static perturbation signal; (c)–(e) wireless signals when picking up, walking, and running; (f) SEM image of pure PVDF fibers; (g) SEM image of PVDF doped by BaTiO3 nanowires [44].

  • Figure 11

    (Color online) PVDF fiber membrane performance. (a) Piezoelectric response current under pressure; (b) piezoelectric response current under bending; (c) pyroelectric current due to temperature changes; (d) simultaneous use of pressure and temperature superimpose the two current signals [6].

  • Figure 12

    (Color online) PVDF single-electrode electronic skin display. (a) Skin attachment; the insert is the wiring diagram at work and its comparison with neurons; (b) SEM image and diameter distribution of the nanofibers; (c) transparency demonstration of the electronic skin deposited on the indium stannate (ITO) surface and (d) its transmission spectrum [45].

  • Figure 13

    (Color online) (a) Pressure map and (b) hot and cold map of the single-electrode electronic skin; (c) short circuiting of adjacent elements of a single-electrode electronic skin element has no effect on the output signal. For the resistance sensing unit. (d) Short circuit of the component itself and (e) the short circuit of the neighboring component causes an error signal output [45].

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