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Proceedings Paper

Low-voltage bending actuators from carbide-derived carbon improved with gold foil
Author(s): Janno Torop; Takushi Sugino; Kinji Asaka; Alar Jänes; Enn Lust; Mati Arulepp; Alvo Aabloo
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Paper Abstract

We report carbide-derived carbon (CDC) based polymeric actuators for the low-voltage applications. The CDC-based actuators have been designed and fabricated in combination with gold foil. The gold-foil-modified actuators exhibited high frequency response and required remarkably low operating voltage (as low as ±0.25 V). Hot-pressed additional gold layer (thickness 100 nm) ensures better conductivity of polymer supported CDC electrodes, while maintaining the elasticity of actuator. Energy consumption of gold-foil-modified (CDC/gold) actuators increased only at higher frequency values (f > 1 Hz), which is in good correlation with enhanced conductivity and improved charge delivery capabilities. Electrochemical measurements of both actuators performed at small operating frequency values (f < 0.01 Hz) confirmed that there was no difference in consumed charge between conventional CDC and CDC/gold actuators. Due to enhanced conductivity of CDC/gold actuators the accumulated charge increased at higher operating frequency values, while initiating larger dimensional changes. For that reason, the CDC/gold actuators exhibited same deflection rate at much lower potential applied. Electrochemical impedance measurements confirmed that relaxation time constant of gold-foil-modified actuator decreased more than one order of magnitude, thus allowing faster charge/discharge cycles. Gold-foil-modified actuators obtained the strain level of 2.2 % when rectangular voltage ±2 V was applied with frequency 0.5 Hz. The compact design and similar working principle of multi-layered actuator also provides opportunity to use actuator concurrently as energy storage device. From practical standpoint, this device concept can be easily extended to actuator-capacitor hybrid designs for generation of energy efficient actuation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 April 2012
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8340, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2012, 834017 (4 April 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.915029
Show Author Affiliations
Janno Torop, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Takushi Sugino, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Kinji Asaka, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
Alar Jänes, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Enn Lust, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Mati Arulepp, Skeleton Technologies (Estonia)
Alvo Aabloo, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8340:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2012
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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