Ion distribution in ionic electroactive polymer actuators

Yang Liu, Caiyan Lu, Stephen Twigg, Jun Hong Lin, Gokhan Hatipoglu, Sheng Liu, Nicholas Winograd, Q. M. Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


Ionic electroactive polymer (i-EAP) actuators with large strain and low operation voltage are extremely attractive for applications such as MEMS and smart materials and systems. In-depth understanding of the ion transport and storage under electrical stimulus is crucial for optimizing the actuator performance. In this study, we show the dominances of ion diffusion charge and we perform direct measurements of the steady state ion distribution in charged and frozen actuators by using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). High temperature actuators that consist Aquivion ionomer membrane and high melting temperature ionic liquid 1-butyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium chloride (BMMI-Cl]) served in this study. Electrical impedance, I-V characteristics, and potential step charging of the actuator are characterized at 25°C and 100°C. The conductivity of the actuator is 0.3mS/cm at 100°C and 2.9μS/cm at 25°C, respectively. The electrochemical window of the device is 3V and a 2mm tip displacement is observed under 2.5V 0.2Hz at 100°C. A semi-quantitative depth profile of the relative ion concentration in charged and frozen actuators is measured by ToF-SIMS. The result shows that, unlike semiconductors, ions do not deplete from the electrodes with same signs. Due to a strong cluster effect between the ions, Cl- and BMMI + accumulate near both cathode and anode. Furthermore, the profile indicates that the ion size difference causes the BMMI+ space charge layers (∼6um) much thicker than those of Cl- (∼0.5um).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
StatePublished - 2011
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 7 2011Mar 10 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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