Low-voltage dielectric elastomer actuators with stretchable electrodes fabricated by supersonic cluster beam implantation

Silvia Taccola, Andrea Bellacicca, Paolo Milani, Lucia Beccai, Francesco Greco

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Supersonic cluster beam implantation of Ag nanoparticles is proposed for the fabrication of stretchable and compliant electrodes for dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) with reduced thickness. Thanks to the low-energy and finely tunable implantation process, a nanocomposite Ag/polydimethylsiloxane electrode layer is produced with a moderate stiffening effect for the DEA in contrast with a common deposition strategy for electrodes. Thin DEAs with an overall thickness of 17 μm were fabricated and tested under different preloading conditions, demonstrating a max uniaxial actuation strain of 2.5% at an actuation voltage of 765 V, lower than the typical voltage values of DEAs. The electrodes remained conductive up to 40% strain, and they fully recovered the original resistance after 70% stretching. Our results represent a significant step towards the development of DEAs operating at reduced actuation voltages, by stacking of micrometer-thick elastomer films, paving the way to novel applications in soft robotics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number064901
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2018


  • Nanoparticles
  • Electrical properties
  • Robotics
  • Polymer
  • smart materials
  • Thin films
  • supersonic flow
  • Composite materials
  • stretchable conductor
  • Nanocomposite

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