Negative Gauge Factor Piezoresistive Composites Based on Polymers Filled with MoS2 Nanosheets

Sonia Biccai, Conor S Boland, Daniel P O'driscoll, Andrew Harvey, Cian Gabbett, Domhnall R O'suilleabhain, Aideen J Griffin, Zheling Li, Robert J Young, Jonathan N Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanocomposite strain sensors, particularly those consisting of polymergraphene
composites, are increasingly common and are of great interest in the area of wearable sensors. In such sensors, application of strain yields an increase in resistance due to the effect of deformation on inter-particle junctions. Typically, widening of inter-particle separation is thought to increase the junction resistance by reducing the probability of tunnelling between conducting particles. However, an alternative approach would be to use piezoresistive fillers, where an applied strain modifies the intrinsic filler resistance and so the overall composite resistance. Such an approach would broaden sensing capabilities, as using negative piezoresistive fillers could yield strain-induced resistance reductions rather than the usual resistance increases. Here we introduce nanocomposites based on polyethylene-oxide (PEO) filled with MoS2 nanosheets. Doping of the MoS2 by the PEO yields nanocomposites which are conductive enough to act as sensors, while efficient stress transfer leads to nanosheet deformation in response to an external strain. The intrinsic negative piezoresistance of the MoS2 leads to a reduction of the composite resistance on the application of small tensile strains. However, at higher strain the resistance grows due to increases in junction resistance. MoS2- PEO composite gauge factors are approximately -25 but fall to -12 for WS2-PEO composites and roughly -2 for PEO filled with MoSe2 or WSe2. We develop a simple model, which describes all these observations. Finally, we show that these composites can be used as dynamic strain sensors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nano
Early online date4 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • liquid phase exfoliation
  • transition metal dichalcogenide
  • graphene
  • 2- dimensional
  • strain gauge

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • National Graphene Institute


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