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Highly Stretchable Conductive Covalent Coacervate Gels for Electronic Skin

Nguyen, NT; Jennings, J; Milani, AH; Martino, CDS; Nguyen, LTB; Wu, S; Mokhtar, MZ; ... Saunders, BR; + view all (2022) Highly Stretchable Conductive Covalent Coacervate Gels for Electronic Skin. Biomacromolecules , 23 (3) pp. 1423-1432. 10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01660. Green open access

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Abstract

Highly stretchable electrically conductive hydrogels have been extensively researched in recent years, especially for applications in strain and pressure sensing, electronic skin, and implantable bioelectronic devices. Herein, we present a new cross-linked complex coacervate approach to prepare conductive hydrogels that are both highly stretchable and compressive. The gels involve a complex coacervate between carboxylated nanogels and branched poly(ethylene imine), whereby the latter is covalently cross-linked by poly(ethylene glycol) diglycidyl ether (PEGDGE). Inclusion of graphene nanoplatelets (Gnp) provides electrical conductivity as well as tensile and compressive strain-sensing capability to the hydrogels. We demonstrate that judicious selection of the molecular weight of the PEGDGE cross-linker enables the mechanical properties of these hydrogels to be tuned. Indeed, the gels prepared with a PEGDGE molecular weight of 6000 g/mol defy the general rule that toughness decreases as strength increases. The conductive hydrogels achieve a compressive strength of 25 MPa and a stretchability of up to 1500%. These new gels are both adhesive and conformal. They provide a self-healable electronic circuit, respond rapidly to human motion, and can act as strain-dependent sensors while exhibiting low cytotoxicity. Our new approach to conductive gel preparation is efficient, involves only preformed components, and is scalable.

Type: Article
Title: Highly Stretchable Conductive Covalent Coacervate Gels for Electronic Skin
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01660
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01660
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 American Chemical Society. This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license Attribution 4.0 International (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Adhesives, Electric Conductivity, Graphite, Humans, Hydrogels, Wearable Electronic Devices
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute > Biomaterials and Tissue Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148442
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