npj Flexible Electronics Pub Date : 2018-02-13 , DOI: 10.1038/s41528-017-0019-4 Youhua Wang, Yitao Qiu, Shideh Kabiri Ameri, Hongwoo Jang, Zhaohe Dai, YongAn Huang, Nanshu Lu
Electronic tattoos (e-tattoos), also known as epidermal electronics, are ultra-thin and ultra-soft noninvasive but skin-conformable devices with capabilities including physiological sensing and transdermal stimulation and therapeutics. The fabrication of e-tattoos out of conventional inorganic electronic materials used to be tedious and expensive. Recently developed cut-and-paste method has significantly simplified the process and lowered the cost. However, existing cut-and-paste method entails a medical tape on which the electronic tattoo sensors should be pasted, which increases tattoo thickness and degrades its breathability. To address this problem, here we report a slightly modified cut-and-paste method to fabricate low-cost, open-mesh e-tattoos with a total thickness of just 1.5 μm. E-tattoos of such thinness can be directly pasted on human skin and conforms to natural skin texture. We demonstrate that this ultra-thin, tape-free e-tattoo can confidently measure electrocardiogram (ECG), skin temperature, and skin hydration. Heart rate and even respiratory rate can be extracted from the ECG signals. A special advantage of such ultra-thin e-tattoo is that it is capable of high-fidelity sensing with minimized motion artifacts under various body movements. Effects of perspiration are found to be insignificant due to the breathability of such e-tattoos.