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      Adaptable ionic liquid-containing supramolecular hydrogel with multiple sensations at subzero temperatures

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          There is a challenge to prepare a hydrogel devoted to fabricate a form of multi-responsive skin-like sensors piggybacking on tactile controlled robots, which could grab the soft and fragile items at subzero temperatures.


          There is a challenge to prepare a hydrogel devoted to fabricate a form of multi-responsive skin-like sensors piggybacking on tactile controlled robots, which could grab the soft and fragile items at subzero temperatures. Herein, we demonstrate a supramolecular ionic liquid hydrogel wherein ureidopyrimidinone (UPy) containing hydrophilic polyurethane (PU) was employed as the network while the aqueous solution of imidazolium ionic liquid acted as a free phase. Combining the advantages of hydrophilic PEG segments, hydrophobic UPy moieties, and the imidazolium ionic liquid, this supramolecular hydrogel exhibited high water content (∼86%), swelling ratio (∼400%), elongation (∼750%), low resistivity (∼0.51 kΩ cm) and excellent transparency (∼98%). Moreover, the most striking characteristic was that the supramolecular hydrogel maintained its outstanding mechanical and thermal sensitivity at subzero temperatures, e.g., −20 °C. The supramolecular ionic liquid hydrogel was utilized to fabricate E-skin for the intelligent robot to realize pressure feedback and thermal recognition. This line of research not only demonstrates that anti-freezing stimuli-responsive hydrogels are a promising candidate for E-skins used in harsh conditions, but also contribute to the design and application of supramolecular polymer-based hydrogel sensors for future artificial intelligence applications.

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          Most cited references40

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          Advances in engineering hydrogels.

          Hydrogels are formed from hydrophilic polymer chains surrounded by a water-rich environment. They have widespread applications in various fields such as biomedicine, soft electronics, sensors, and actuators. Conventional hydrogels usually possess limited mechanical strength and are prone to permanent breakage. Further, the lack of dynamic cues and structural complexity within the hydrogels has limited their functions. Recent developments include engineering hydrogels that possess improved physicochemical properties, ranging from designs of innovative chemistries and compositions to integration of dynamic modulation and sophisticated architectures. We review major advances in designing and engineering hydrogels and strategies targeting precise manipulation of their properties across multiple scales.
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            Hydrogel ionotronics

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              A Bioinspired Mineral Hydrogel as a Self-Healable, Mechanically Adaptable Ionic Skin for Highly Sensitive Pressure Sensing.

              In the past two decades, artificial skin-like materials have received increasing research interests for their broad applications in artificial intelligence, wearable devices, and soft robotics. However, profound challenges remain in terms of imitating human skin because of its unique combination of mechanical and sensory properties. In this work, a bioinspired mineral hydrogel is developed to fabricate a novel type of mechanically adaptable ionic skin sensor. Due to its unique viscoelastic properties, the hydrogel-based capacitive sensor is compliant, self-healable, and can sense subtle pressure changes, such as a gentle finger touch, human motion, or even small water droplets. It might not only show great potential in applications such as artificial intelligence, human/machine interactions, personal healthcare, and wearable devices, but also promote the development of next-generation mechanically adaptable intelligent skin-like devices.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Materials Chemistry C
                J. Mater. Chem. C
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                January 28 2021
                : 9
                : 3
                : 1044-1050
                [1 ]Key Laboratory of Superlight Material and Surface Technology of Ministry of Education
                [2 ]College of Material Science and Chemical Engineering
                [3 ]Harbin Engineering University
                [4 ]Harbin
                [5 ]China
                [6 ]National ASIC Design Engineering Centre
                [7 ]Institute of Automation
                [8 ]Chinese Academy of Sciences
                [9 ]Beijing
                [10 ]College of Automation
                © 2021


                Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=D0TC04992A


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