Soft, Bistable Actuators for Reconfigurable 3D Electronics

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41968-41977
Journal / PublicationACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number35
Online published24 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2021


Existing strategies for reconfigurable three-dimensional (3D) electronics are greatly constrained by either the complicated driven mechanisms or harsh demands for conductive materials. Developing a simple and robust strategy for 3D electronics reconstruction and function extension remains a challenge. Here, we propose a solvent-driven bistable actuator, which acts as a substrate to reconstruct the combined 3D electronic device. Extraction of silicon oil from a hybrid poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) circle sheet buckles the dish to a bistable structure. The ultraviolet (UV)/ozone treatment on one surface of the PDMS structure introduces an oxidized layer, yielding a bilayered, solvent-driven bistable smart actuator. The snap-back stimulus to the oxidized layer differs from the snap-through stimulus. Experimental and numerical studies reveal the fundamental regulations for buckling configurations and the bistable behavior of the actuator. The prepared bistable actuator drives the bonded kirigami polyimide (PI) sheets to diverse 3D structures from the original bending configuration, reversibly. A frequency-reconfigurable electrically small monopole antenna is presented as a demonstration, which paves a way for the applications of this actuator in the field of reconfigurable 3D electronics.

Research Area(s)

  • 3D electronics, bistable actuator, reconfigurable structures, solvent expansion, ultraviolet (UV)/ozone treatment