3D Printed, Solid-State Conductive Ionoelastomer as a Generic Building Block for Tactile Applications

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Original languageEnglish
Article number2105996
Journal / PublicationAdvanced Materials
Issue number2
Online published3 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2022


Shaping soft and conductive materials into preferential architectures via 3D printing is highly attractive for numerous applications ranging from tactile devices to bioelectronics. A landmark type of soft and conductive materials is hydrogels/ionogels. However, 3D-printed hydrogels/ionogels still suffer from a fundamental bottleneck: limited stability in their electrical–mechanical properties caused by the evaporation and leakage of liquid within hydrogels/ionogels. Although photocurable liquid-free ion-conducting elastomers can circumvent these limitations, the associated photocurable process is cumbersome and hence the printing quality is relatively poor. Herein, a fast photocurable, solid-state conductive ionoelastomer (SCIE) is developed that enables high-resolution 3D printing of arbitrary architectures. The printed building blocks possess many promising features over the conventional ion-conducting materials, including high resolution architectures (even ≈50 µm overhanging lattices), good Young's modulus (up to ≈6.2 MPa), and stretchability (fracture strain of ≈292%), excellent conductivity tolerance in a wide range of temperatures (from −30 to 80 °C), as well as fine elasticity and antifatigue ability even after 10 000 loading–unloading cycles. It is further demonstrated that the printed building blocks can be programmed into 3D flexible tactile sensors such as gyroid-based piezoresistive sensor and gap-based capacitive sensor, both of which exhibit several times higher in sensitivity than their bulky counterparts.

Research Area(s)

  • 3D printing, 3D tactile sensors, ionic conductors, solid-state ionoelastomers