With the advance of soft electronic industry, soft electro-ionic artificial muscles based on electro-active polymer have been actively investigated from the practical viewpoint. However, due to the few drawbacks of the soft electro-ionic artificial muscles, they have not yet been applied to the practical applications until know. Herein, we report soft electro-ionic artificial muscles based on three dimensional graphene-carbon nanotube-nickel nanostructures (G-CNT-Ni). The G-CNT-Ni were blended in both polymeric electrodes and ionic membranes to fabricate a strong and large-bending soft electro-ionic artificial muscle. Importantly, the G-CNT-Ni exhibited remarkable electrochemical reactivity due to the synergistic effects of large specific surface area, three-dimensionally networked structures, and no restacking phenomena. Moreover, reinforcement of the G-CNT-Ni makes significantly improved blocking force and bending actuation of soft electro-ionic artificial muscle. This investigation can opens up a new way to apply soft electro-ionic artificial muscles to practical applications in next-generation electronic devices.
Bio-inspired polymeric artificial muscles have been regarded as perfect candidates for future soft electronic devices such as human-friendly wearable electronics, and soft haptic-feedback systems. However, for more practical applications of polymeric artificial muscles, the drawbacks of the artificial muscles including response time, power generation, durability, and cost-effectiveness remain to be resolved. Here, we report a bio-inspired high-performance artificial muscles based on three-dimensional networked carbon nanostructures, which provide an electrically conductive network in the electrodes. The three-dimensional networked carbon nanostructures exhibit high specific capacitance in both aqueous and non-aqueous electrolyte, large specific surface area, and high electrical conductivity. Moreover, the bio-inspired artificial muscles were successfully demonstrated with high strain and long-term durability under low input voltages, owing to the outstanding features of three-dimensional networked carbon nanostructures. Therefore, the bio-inspired artificial muscles with 3D-networked carbon nanostructures can play key roles for next-generation soft and wearable electronics.