Self-Healing Electrode with High Electrical Conductivity and Mechanical Strength for Artificial Electronic Skin
A self-healing electrode is an electrical conductor that can repair internal damage by itself, similar to human skin. Since self-healing electrodes are based on polymers and hydrogels, these components are still limited by low electrical conductivity and mechanical strength. In this study, we designed an electrically conductive, mechanically strong, and printable self-healing electrode using liquid crystal graphene oxide (LCGO) and silver nanowires (AgNWs). The conductive ink was easily prepared by simply mixing LCGO and AgNWs solutions. The ultrathin (3 μm thick) electrode can be printed in various shapes, such as a butterfly, in a freestanding state. The maximum conductivity and strength of the LCGO/AgNW composite were 17 »800 S/cm and 4.2 MPa, respectively; these values are 24 and 4 times higher, respectively, than those of a previously developed self-healing electrode. The LCGO/AgNW composite self-healed internal damage in ambient conditions with moisture and consequently recovered 96.8% electrical conductivity and 95% mechanical toughness compared with the undamaged state. The electrical properties of the composite exhibited metallic tendencies. Therefore, these results suggest that the composite can be used as an artificial electronic skin that detects environmental conditions, such as compression and temperature. This self-healing artificial electronic skin could be applied to human condition monitoring and robotic sensing systems.