(337j) Ultrastretchable Conductive Polymer Complex As a Strain Sensor with a Repeatable Autonomous Self-Healing Ability

Authors: 
Wujcik, E. K., The University of Alabama
Lu, Y., The University of Alabama
Liu, Z., The University of Alabama
Peng, Q., The University of Alabama
Wang, R., The University of Alabama
Barkey, M. E., The University of Alabama
Jeon, J. W., Kookmin University
Wearable strain sensors are essential for the realization of applications in the broad fields of remote healthcare monitoring, soft robots, and immersive gaming, among many others. These flexible sensors should be comfortably adhered to the skin and capable of monitoring human motions with high accuracy, as well as exhibiting excellent durability. However, it is challenging to develop electronic materials that possess the properties of skin - compliant, elastic, stretchable, and self-healable. This work demonstrates a new regenerative polymer complex composed of poly(2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid), polyaniline, and phytic acid as a skin-like electronic material. It exhibits ultrahigh stretchability (1935%), repeatable autonomous self-healing ability (repeating healing efficiency >98%), quadratic response to strain (R2 > 0.9998), and linear response to flexion bending (R2 > 0.9994), outperforming current reported wearable strain sensors. The deprotonated polyelectrolyte, multivalent anion, and doped conductive polymer, under ambient conditions, synergistically construct a regenerative dynamic network of polymer complex cross-linked by hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions, which enables ultrahigh stretchability and repeatable self-healing. Sensitive strain responsive geometric and piezoresistive mechanisms of the material owing to the homogeneous and viscoelastic nature provide excellent linear responses to omnidirectional tensile strain and bending deformations. Furthermore, this material is scalable and simple to process in an environmentally friendly manner, paving the way for the next-generation flexible electronics.