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Proceedings Paper

Multi-component single-substrate conducting polymer actuation systems and fabrication techniques
Author(s): Eli Paster; Bryan P. Ruddy; Priam V. Pillai; Ian W. Hunter
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Paper Abstract

Conducting polymer materials can be employed as actuation elements, length sensors, force sensors, energy storage devices, and electrical components. Combining the various functionalities of conducting polymers to create singlesubstrate, integrated systems remains a challenge, as chemical and electrical insulation barriers, adhesion techniques, and the possibility of scaling need to be taken into consideration. Here fabrication techniques for combining multiple conducting polymer components by means of electrically insulated, mechanical attachments are developed. Electrochemically synthesized polypyrrole substrates were coated with thin films of polystyrene, Parylene, and polyimide. The isotonic actuation performance of each coated film was evaluated in comparison to non-coated films, with an observed decrease in peak-to-peak maximum strain output near 95% (polystyrene and Parylene), 20% (vacuum, 0.8 Pa), 50% (curing at 110°C) and 20% (localized polyimide deposition). The chemical barrier properties of each manufacturing technique were evaluated by exposing the coated polypyrrole substrates to an oxidative chemical vapor deposition of Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT). Vapor-deposited PEDOT made the insulation layers of polystyrene and Parylene conductive at thicknesses up to four microns. Spin-coated films of polyimide, greater than ten microns thick, maintained electrical insulation properties after PEDOT depositions. Conducting polymer film-to-film attachments using each manufacturing technique were attempted, with polyimide working successfully when employed under a specific deposition, drying, and curing protocol, as discussed. Three dimensional conducting polymer actuation systems composed of actuators, length sensors, and energy storage devices were constructed on flexible, single substrates. These results build a foundation upon which scalable, self-powered, polymer actuation systems can be developed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 March 2011
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 797619 (28 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880078
Show Author Affiliations
Eli Paster, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Bryan P. Ruddy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Priam V. Pillai, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Ian W. Hunter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7976:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Federico Carpi, Editor(s)

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