A Highly Robust Ionotronic Fiber with Unprecedented Mechanomodulation of Ionic Conduction




Mingyue Yao, Baohu Wu, Xunda Feng, Shengtong Sun*, and Peiyi Wu*. A Highly Robust Ionotronic Fiber with Unprecedented Mechanomodulation of Ionic Conduction. Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2103755.




Stretchable ionic conductors are appealing for tissue-like soft electronics, yet suffer from a tardy mechanoelectric response due to their poor modulation of ionic conduction arising from intrinsic homogeneous soft chain network. Here, a highly robust ionotronic fiber is designed by synergizing ionic liquid and liquid crystal elastomer with alternate rigid mesogen units and soft chain spacers, which shows an unprecedented strain-induced ionic conductivity boost (≈10e3 times enhanced as stretched to 2000% strain). Such a surprisingly high enhancement is attributed to the formation of microphase-separated low-tortuosity ion-conducting nanochannels guided by strain-induced emergence of aligned smectic mesophases, thus allowing for ultrafast ion transport that resembles the role of “swimming lanes.” Intriguingly, the boosting conductivity even reverses Pouillet’s Law-dictated resistance increase at certain strains, leading to unique waveform-discernible strain sensing. Moreover, the fiber retains thermal actuation properties with a maximum of 70% strain changes upon heating, and enables integrated self-perception and actuation. The findings offer a promising molecular engineering route to mechanically modulate the ion transport behavior of ionic conductors toward advanced ionotronic applications.