Underwater Communication and Optical Camouflage Ionogels




Zhenchuan Yu, and Peiyi Wu*. Underwater Communication and Optical Camouflage Ionogels. Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2008479.




Marine animals, such as leptocephalus and jellyfish, can sense external stimuli and achieve optical camouflage in the aquatic environment. Fabricating an intelligent soft sensor that can mimic the capabilities of transparent marine animals and function underwater can enable transformative applications in various novel fields. However, previously reported soft sensors struggle to meet the requirements of adhesion, self‐healing ability, optical transparency, and stable conductivity in the aquatic environment. Herein, high‐performance ionogels by virtue of ion–dipole and ion–ion interactions between fluorine‐rich poly(ionic liquid) and ionic liquid are designed. The hydrophobic dynamic viscoelastic networks provide excellent properties for ionogels, including optical transparency, adjustable mechanical properties, underwater self‐healing ability, underwater adhesiveness, conductivity, and 3D printability. A mechanically compliant and visually invisible underwater soft sensor based on ionogel is developed. This sensor can achieve optical camouflage, human‐body‐motion detection, and barrier‐free communication in the aquatic environment. A novel contactless sensing mechanism based on changing the electron transfer pathway is proposed. Several interesting functions, such as detection of water environment changes, recognition of objects, delivery of information, and even identification of human standing posture can be realized. Importantly, the ionogel sensor can avoid fatigue and physical damage in the sensing process.