Performance of a flexible electrode based on natural leather

Abstract

A novel electrode is developed to detect electrocardiogram (ECG) signals using the top grain leather and split leather of pig as the substrate due to their mechanical strength, flexibility, permeability, long-term durability and visual acceptance. The natural leather is pre-treated with Ar plasma and a thin silver paste coating is brush-painted on the surface to gain electrical conductivity. The sheet resistance of the electrodes is approximately 120 mΩ sq−1. The electrodes based on leather can reliably transmit low-frequency and low-voltage signals, which benefit the acquisition of cardiac signals. Although the electrode-skin contact impedance of the dry leather-based electrodes is higher than the silver/silver chloride (Ag/AgCl) electrodes, the contact impedance decreases at least 57.74% after wetting the skin. All cardiac waves obtained by the leather-based electrodes are clear and visible, and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of electrodes are higher than the Ag/AgCl electrodes. The electrodes based on leather have great potential for smart wearable devices.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by ‘Fundamental Research Funds for the Central University’, PR China. The authors would like to acknowledge the testing support from the Analysis & Testing Center of Sichuan University and the test equipment support provided by West China Hospital of Sichuan University.

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Correspondence to Li Gou.

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Song, Y., Huang, Y., Zou, Y. et al. Performance of a flexible electrode based on natural leather. J Mater Sci: Mater Electron 32, 4891–4902 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10854-020-05229-y

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