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Issue 12, 2016
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Transparent actuators and robots based on single-layer superaligned carbon nanotube sheet and polymer composites

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Abstract

Transparent actuators have been attracting emerging interest recently, as they demonstrate potential applications in the fields of invisible robots, tactical displays, variable-focus lenses, and flexible cellular phones. However, previous technologies did not simultaneously realize macroscopic transparent actuators with advantages of large-shape deformation, low-voltage-driven actuation and fast fabrication. Here, we develop a fast approach to fabricate a high-performance transparent actuator based on single-layer superaligned carbon nanotube sheet and polymer composites. Various advantages of single-layer nanotube sheets including high transparency, considerable conductivity, and ultra-thin dimensions together with selected polymer materials completely realize all the above required advantages. Also, this is the first time that a single-layer nanotube sheet has been used to fabricate actuators with high transparency, avoiding the structural damage to the single-layer nanotube sheet. The transparent actuator shows a transmittance of 72% at the wavelength of 550 nm and bends remarkably with a curvature of 0.41 cm−1 under a DC voltage for 5 s, demonstrating a significant advance in technological performances compared to previous conventional actuators. To illustrate their great potential usage, a transparent wiper and a humanoid robot “hand” were elaborately designed and fabricated, which initiate a new direction in the development of high-performance invisible robotics and other intelligent applications with transparency.

Graphical abstract: Transparent actuators and robots based on single-layer superaligned carbon nanotube sheet and polymer composites

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Article information


Submitted
18 Oct 2015
Accepted
24 Feb 2016
First published
09 Mar 2016

Nanoscale, 2016,8, 6877-6883
Article type
Paper

Transparent actuators and robots based on single-layer superaligned carbon nanotube sheet and polymer composites

L. Chen, M. Weng, W. Zhang, Z. Zhou, Y. Zhou, D. Xia, J. Li, Z. Huang, C. Liu and S. Fan, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 6877
DOI: 10.1039/C5NR07237A

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