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One-volt-driven superfast polymer actuators based on single-ion conductors

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The key challenges in the advancement of actuator technologies related to artificial muscles include fast-response time, low operation voltages and durability. Although several researchers have tackled these challenges over the last few decades, no breakthrough has been made. Here we describe a platform for the development of soft actuators that moves a few millimetres under 1 V in air, with a superfast response time of tens of milliseconds. An essential component of this actuator is the single-ion-conducting polymers that contain well-defined ionic domains through the introduction of zwitterions; this achieved an exceptionally high dielectric constant of 76 and a 300-fold enhancement in ionic conductivity. Moreover, the actuator demonstrated long-term durability, with negligible changes in the actuator stroke over 20,000 cycles in air. Owing to its low-power consumption (only 4 mW), we believe that this actuator could pave the way for cutting-edge biomimetic technologies in the future.

No MeSH data available.


Molecular structures.(a) Molecular structure of imidazole-doped PSS-b-PMB block copolymer and (b) molecular structures of ZImS, ZAmS and ZPiS.
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f1: Molecular structures.(a) Molecular structure of imidazole-doped PSS-b-PMB block copolymer and (b) molecular structures of ZImS, ZAmS and ZPiS.

Mentions: Cation-conducting polymers were prepared from sulfonated polymers by doping with imidazole (Im). We designed the polymers to have self-assembled structures by covalently linking sulfonated polystyrene (PSS) and polymethylbutylene (PMB), that is, PSS-b-PMB, which enables ions to be confined into the PSS phases without affecting the mechanical integrity of the ionophobic PMB domains. Figure 1a shows the molecular structure of the Im-doped PSS-b-PMB block copolymers. The degree of polymerization (N=n+m) of PSS-b-PMB block copolymers was varied from N=145 to 598 in order to optimize the mechanical strength of the polymer layer. Moreover, the sulfonation level (SL, x/n) of the PSS chains in PSS-b-PMB was adjusted from 20 to 75 mol%, thereby controlling ionic conductivity. For brevity, we will only discuss the representative data obtained from a single PSS-b-PMB with n=153, m=313 and SL=60 mol% (referred to as S153MB313(60)), which showed the best actuation performance.


One-volt-driven superfast polymer actuators based on single-ion conductors
Molecular structures.(a) Molecular structure of imidazole-doped PSS-b-PMB block copolymer and (b) molecular structures of ZImS, ZAmS and ZPiS.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120218&req=5

f1: Molecular structures.(a) Molecular structure of imidazole-doped PSS-b-PMB block copolymer and (b) molecular structures of ZImS, ZAmS and ZPiS.
Mentions: Cation-conducting polymers were prepared from sulfonated polymers by doping with imidazole (Im). We designed the polymers to have self-assembled structures by covalently linking sulfonated polystyrene (PSS) and polymethylbutylene (PMB), that is, PSS-b-PMB, which enables ions to be confined into the PSS phases without affecting the mechanical integrity of the ionophobic PMB domains. Figure 1a shows the molecular structure of the Im-doped PSS-b-PMB block copolymers. The degree of polymerization (N=n+m) of PSS-b-PMB block copolymers was varied from N=145 to 598 in order to optimize the mechanical strength of the polymer layer. Moreover, the sulfonation level (SL, x/n) of the PSS chains in PSS-b-PMB was adjusted from 20 to 75 mol%, thereby controlling ionic conductivity. For brevity, we will only discuss the representative data obtained from a single PSS-b-PMB with n=153, m=313 and SL=60 mol% (referred to as S153MB313(60)), which showed the best actuation performance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The key challenges in the advancement of actuator technologies related to artificial muscles include fast-response time, low operation voltages and durability. Although several researchers have tackled these challenges over the last few decades, no breakthrough has been made. Here we describe a platform for the development of soft actuators that moves a few millimetres under 1 V in air, with a superfast response time of tens of milliseconds. An essential component of this actuator is the single-ion-conducting polymers that contain well-defined ionic domains through the introduction of zwitterions; this achieved an exceptionally high dielectric constant of 76 and a 300-fold enhancement in ionic conductivity. Moreover, the actuator demonstrated long-term durability, with negligible changes in the actuator stroke over 20,000 cycles in air. Owing to its low-power consumption (only 4 mW), we believe that this actuator could pave the way for cutting-edge biomimetic technologies in the future.

No MeSH data available.