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22 July 2021

Touch Sensor Guide

Designing a capacitive touch sensor or a product with a capacitive touch sensor? Then one key element impacting both the design and manufacturing process is the electrode materials. The electrode material must not only provide optimal performance but must also deliver the required durability to operate successfully in the intended environment and be cost-effective to manufacture. Choose well and you’ll have satisfied customers happy with your new product. And if you choose wrong, brace yourself for product returns, warranty requests, and the wave of hate from social media. Even the behaviour of the touch sensor relies on the material you choose for your electrode. Traditionally, Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) has been used for capacitive touch sensors on flat surface designs, oftentimes made from glass. However, with designers and engineers looking for ways to incorporate different forms and shapes into their designs (think flexible, thermoformed or bent) ITO is no longer the best option. ITO is far too brittle which results in it shattering when introduced to any flex stressors. This reason is compelling designers and engineers to look for alternative electrode materials. There are numerous ITO alternatives commercially available today. For engineers – it’s all about choosing which ITO alternative has the correct grouping of characteristics for your project. These characteristics are organized into 4 groups: Optical, Electrical, Mechanical and Environmental.


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