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Stimuli-Controlled Ion Dynamics in Iontronic Polymer Channel for Bioinspired Somatosensory System

Stimuli-Controlled Ion Dynamics in Iontronic Polymer Channel for Bioinspired Somatosensory System
Alternative Author(s)
Joo Sung Kim
Issue Date
2022. 2
As the eXtended reality (XR) technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), have been developed and the market size of the metaverse industry has grown up recently, the importance of human-machine interface in terms of hardware has been receiving the spotlight. Particularly, the artificial somatosensory system, which enables external tactile information to be delivered to humans or machines, is the core technology in this platform. This artificial somatosensory system is composed of three components; (i) sensory transduction which is the transferring process from a sensory signal to an electrical signal, (ii) sensory coding which is a type of information processing in nervous systems, and (iii) neural interface which is the link between the nervous system and the outside system by electrically stimulating nerves in order to assist the sensory and neural function. However, the existing artificial somatosensory systems using metallic conductors and semiconductors have some limitations. There has been mechanical mismatch against the human skin and tissue with this system while charge transfer process proved to be ineffective in biological signaling. To overcome these current challenges, iontronic devices have been opening an innovative era of artificial somatosensory platforms that mimics not only the tactile sensing capabilities of human skin but also biological communication; those features are originated from the ion transport phenomenon. According to excellence in mechanical stretchability and nature of ionic conduction, iontronic tactile sensors and bioelectronics have been developed, based on different structural designs and strategies using material innovations. In this perspective, composing ion materials and designing ion conduction mechanisms are the two pivotal factors in developing iontronic devices. This dissertation is now to present the rules of material design in iontronic devices based on stimuli-controlled ion dynamics and then deal with their practical utilization. This dissertation comprises 6 chapters. The background and motivation for the research are introduced in chapter 1. In chapter 2, we have closely emulated biological cellular structures in a rationally designed synthetic multicellular hybrid iontronic polymer channel, composed of hydrogen bonded ion pairs on the surface of silica particles embedded into polymer matrix, to fabricate iontronic tactile sensors. In chapter 3, we have demonstrated mechanosensitive triboelectric nanogenerators using visco-poroelastic ion dynamics. Furthermore, we have clearly investigated the role of iontronic polymer channels as tribomaterials for the self-powered tactile sensors. To design a fabrication method for iontronic tactile sensors with high-spatial resolution, we have explored an iontronic mechnotransducer array using solution process in chapter 4. In addition, in chapter 5, we have designed a novel structure of tactile sensors using liquid-state ionic material and floating graphene electrode. The iontronic graphene tactile sensors proposed in this work can enhance the signal to noise ratio (SNR) which is challenging issue of tactile sensors. Finally, we have presented a novel design of biocompatible iontronic neural interface to electrical neuro-stimulation. Unlike the electronic devices, the iontronic neural interface can realize the biocompatibility and operating stability using a capacitive charge injection mechanism.
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