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New publication in Scientific Reports “Nanothorn electrodes for ionic polymer-metal composite artificial muscles” with Prof. Kim’s group at UNLV

Nanothorn electrodes for ionic polymer-metal composite artificial muscles
V. Palmre, D. Pugal, K. J. Kim, K. K. Leang, K. Asaka, A. Aabloo
Scientific Reports, 4 : 6176, 2014.

Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) have recently received tremendous interest as soft biomimetic actuators and sensors in various bioengineering and human affinity applications, such as artificial muscles and actuators, aquatic propulsors, robotic end-effectors, and active catheters. Main challenges in developing biomimetic actuators are the attainment of high strain and actuation force at low operating voltage. Here we first report a nanostructured electrode surface design for IPMC comprising platinum nanothorn assemblies with multiple sharp tips. The newly developed actuator with the nanostructured electrodes shows a new way to achieve highly enhanced electromechanical performance over existing flat-surfaced electrodes. We demonstrate that the formation and growth of the nanothorn assemblies at the electrode interface lead to a dramatic improvement (3- to 5-fold increase) in both actuation range and blocking force at low driving voltage (1–3 V). These advances are related to the highly capacitive properties of nanothorn assemblies, increasing significantly the charge transport during the actuation process.

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