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Tommaso Santaniello1 Lorenzo Migliorini1 Francesca Borghi1 Yunsong Yan1 Cristina Lenardi1 Paolo Milani1

1, CIMaINa - Università degli Studi di Milano - Physics Department, Milan, , Italy

We present the development, manufacturing and characterization of a novel class of electroactive nanocomposites designed to display spring-like linear actuation at the macroscale at low applied voltages. These systems are based on the integration of plain paper with a highly conductive ionogel and with cluster-assembled gold electrodes produced by Supersonic Cluster Beam Deposition (SCBD) [1]. Commercial plain paper is impregnated with the electrolyte, which is stably incorporated into the fibrous structure through UV photo-crosslinking, while SCBD is used to generate nanostructured electrodes, physically interpenetrating with the hybrid paper/ionogel platform, with high compliancy, low thickness (150 nm) and large surface area to favor charge storage [1, 2]. The nanocomposites are characterized in terms of morphological and structural properties and their electrochemical behavior is also assessed. Due to the anisotropy and unique mechanical properties of the activated paper, helix-shaped actuators can be obtained by simply folding strips of the nanocomposites, enabling the production of electroactive components exhibiting linear motion up to two mm at 5 V. This class of nanocomposites constitutes a promising solution for the development of adaptive soft robotic architectures and smart flexible systems with bio-inspired motility.

[1] Y. Yan, T. Santaniello, L.G. Bettini, C. Minnai, A. Bellacicca, R. Porotti, I. Denti, G. Faraone, M. Merlini, C. Lenardi and P. Milani, Advanced Materials, (2017), 10.1002/adma.201606109
[2] F. Caruso, A Bellacicca and P. Milani, Appl. Phys. Lett. 108, 163501 (2016)

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