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Development Of Ionic Liquid-based Electroactive Polymer Composites Using Nanotechnology

Yuqing Dong, Ka-Wai Yeung, Chak-Yin Tang, Wing-Cheung Law, Gary Chi-Pong Tsui, Xiaolin Xie

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Abstract This review is intended to provide an overview of the design and fabrication of ionic liquid-based ionic electroactive polymer (IL-iEAP) transducers for advanced applications in biological and electronic fields. The iEAP is a class of smart materials that can perform sensing or actuating functions by controlling the movement of cations and anions in the active layer. This type of material can deform under low voltage stimulation and generate electrical signals when undergoing mechanical deformation because of ion redistribution. Numerous research attention has been focused on studying the deformation mechanisms and the potential for actuation, sensing, and energy harvesting applications. Compared to the traditional water-based iEAP, the non-volatile IL-iEAP delivers a wider electrochemical window and a more stable actuation performance. In this paper, the classification of iEAP with different actuation mechanisms is first outlined, followed by introducing various preparation methods including nanotechnology for IL-iEAPs, and discussing the key factors governing their actuation performance. In addition, the advanced functions of IL-iEAP in actuating and sensing, especially self-sensing in bionics and electromechanical equipment applications, are reviewed. Finally, novel nanotechnologies used for fabricating IL-iEAPs and the prospects of their microelectromechanical system (MEMS) applications are discussed.