American Chemical Society
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Vapor and Light Responsive Biocompatible Soft Actuator

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posted on 2024-05-15, 20:07 authored by Vipin Kumar, Dillip K. Satapathy
Bioinspired smart polymeric materials that undergo three-dimensional shape deformation in response to specific stimuli have gained significant attention in the field of soft robotics and intelligent devices. Despite the substantial advancements in soft robotics, there is a growing demand for the design of multistimuli-responsive soft actuators using a single layer of material due to its reduced complexity and ease of manufacturing and durability. Here, we report the actuation characteristics of a single-layer, dual-responsive soft actuator that overcomes the commonly encountered delamination issues often associated with bilayer systems by incorporating PEDOT:PSS with cassava starch. This soft actuator exhibits deformations in response to various solvent vapors, such as water, alcohol, and acetone. Remarkably, it demonstrates opposite deformations upon exposure to water and alcohol vapors. Additionally, the actuator responds to light triggers and folds upon exposure to sunlight and infrared light. The degree of folding can be precisely controlled by adjusting the intensity of the light source. Furthermore, the periodic geometric patterns imposed on the surface of the actuator provide an additional handle to control the bending axis. For proof of concept, we leverage the actuation capabilities of our actuator to showcase a range of potential applications, including its usage in wearable textiles, crawler robots, smart curtains, push-and-pull machines, and smart lifts.

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