Graphene Mesh for Self-Sensing Ionic Soft Actuator Inspired from Mechanoreceptors in Human Body

Rassoul Tabassian, Van Hiep Nguyen, Sima Umrao, Manmatha Mahato, Jaehwan Kim, Maurizio Porfiri, Il Kwon Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, inspired by mechanoreceptors in the human body, a self-sensing ionic soft actuator is developed that precisely senses the bending motions during actuating utilizing a 3D graphene mesh electrode. The graphene mesh electrode has the permeability of mobile ions inside the ionic exchangeable polymer and shows low electrical resistance of 6.25 Ω Sq−1, maintaining high electrical conductivity in large bending deformations of 180°. In this sensing system, the graphene woven mesh is embedded inside ionic polymer membrane to interact with mobile ions and to trace their movements. The migration of mobile ions inside the membrane induces an electrical signal on the mesh and provides the information regarding ion distribution, which is proven to be highly correlated with the bending deformation of the actuator. Using this integrated self-sensing system, the responses of an ionic actuator to various input stimulations are precisely estimated for both direct current and alternating current inputs. Even though the generated displacement is extremely small around 300 µm at very low driving voltage of 0.1 V, high level accuracy (96%) of estimated deformations could be achieved using the self-sensing actuator system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1901711
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • graphene mesh
  • mechanoreceptors
  • porous electrodes
  • self-sensing
  • sensory actuators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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