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An Ultrastretchable and Self-Healable Nanocomposite Conductor Enabled by Autonomously Percolative Electrical Pathways.

ACS nano (2019-05-11)
Sun Hong Kim, Hyunseon Seo, Jiheong Kang, Jaeyoung Hong, Duhwan Seong, Han-Jin Kim, Jaemin Kim, Jaewan Mun, Inchan Youn, Jinseok Kim, Yu-Chan Kim, Hyun-Kwang Seok, Changhee Lee, Jeffrey B-H Tok, Zhenan Bao, Donghee Son
ABSTRACT

Both self-healable conductors and stretchable conductors have been previously reported. However, it is still difficult to simultaneously achieve high stretchability, high conductivity, and self-healability. Here, we observed an intriguing phenomenon, termed "electrical self-boosting", which enables reconstructing of electrically percolative pathways in an ultrastretchable and self-healable nanocomposite conductor (over 1700% strain). The autonomously reconstructed percolative pathways were directly verified by using microcomputed tomography and in situ scanning electron microscopy. The encapsulated nanocomposite conductor shows exceptional conductivity (average value: 2578 S cm-1; highest value: 3086 S cm-1) at 3500% tensile strain by virtue of efficient strain energy dissipation of the self-healing polymer and self-alignment and rearrangement of silver flakes surrounded by spontaneously formed silver nanoparticles and their self-assembly in the strained self-healing polymer matrix. In addition, the conductor maintains high conductivity and stretchability even after recovered from a complete cut. Besides, a design of double-layered conductor enabled by the self-bonding assembly allowed a conducting interface to be located on the neutral mechanical plane, showing extremely durable operations in a cyclic stretching test. Finally, we successfully demonstrated that electromyogram signals can be monitored by our self-healable interconnects. Such information was transmitted to a prosthetic robot to control various hand motions for robust interactive human-robot interfaces.

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Sigma-Aldrich
Trimethoxy(octadecyl)silane, technical grade