Inherently soft electroactive devices will enable a range of novel applications in biomedical, wearable, and robotics technology. In this area, dielectric elastomers (DEs) are particularly promising electromechanical transducers. One major challenge for DEs and other soft devices is the fabrication and precise patterning of thin stretchable conductors. Conventional methods such as pad printing and spray deposition require pre-fabricated molds or stencils, and inkjet printing relies on organic solvents to tune the rheology of inks. In this work, laser-scribed graphene oxide (LSGO) is proposed to fabricate patterned, stretchable electrodes for DE actuators (DEAs). The method uses a low-cost laser engraver that can produce arbitrary patterns with 0.l mm resolution. The process is green (free of organic solvents) and does not require molds or stencils. DEAs with regular and complex LSGO electrodes were fabricated and characterized. In a direct comparison with DEAs made using conductive carbon grease as electrode material, LSGO DEAs show higher maximum actuation strain. Areal strain of 8.8% was observed in a planar LSGO DEA with patterned electrodes.
- dielectric elastomer actuators
- soft electronics
- laser scribing
- graphene oxide
- stretchable conductors