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Unusually fast and large actuation from multilayer polyelectrolyte thin films

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Abstract

Polymers responsive to external stimuli (e.g., electric field, chemical vapor, light) are of great interest for smart materials such as sensors and soft robotics. A vapor-driven multilayer polymer actuator, capable of fast and large-scale actuation, is described here. This Janus-like actuator is prepared with two polyelectrolyte multilayer systems (polyethylenimine (PEI)/poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and polyurethane (PU)/poly(acrylic acid) (PAA)) using layer-by-layer assembly (LbL). The differing hydrophilicity of these two nanocoatings results in different swelling behavior in water and organic solvents, which leads to vapor-responsive mechanical motion. The bending/curling degree of this polymeric actuator can be precisely controlled by changing the thickness ratio of the two layers. A vapor sensor was constructed to demonstrate the environmental detection ability of this unique actuator.

Graphical abstract: Unusually fast and large actuation from multilayer polyelectrolyte thin films

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Dec 2018, accepted on 11 Jan 2019 and first published on 14 Jan 2019


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02465K
Citation: Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article

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    Unusually fast and large actuation from multilayer polyelectrolyte thin films

    Y. Song, S. Qin, J. Gerringer and J. C. Grunlan, Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02465K

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