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Sci Adv. 2017 Jun 21;3(6):e1700053. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700053. eCollection 2017 Jun.

Instant tough bonding of hydrogels for soft machines and electronics.

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Department of Soft Matter Physics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Altenbergerstrasse 69, 4040 Linz, Austria.
Institute of Polymer Science, Johannes Kepler University Linz, 4040 Linz, Austria.
Linz Institute of Technology, Soft Electronics Laboratory, Johannes Kepler University Linz, 4040 Linz, Austria.


Introducing methods for instant tough bonding between hydrogels and antagonistic materials-from soft to hard-allows us to demonstrate elastic yet tough biomimetic devices and machines with a high level of complexity. Tough hydrogels strongly attach, within seconds, to plastics, elastomers, leather, bone, and metals, reaching unprecedented interfacial toughness exceeding 2000 J/m2. Healing of severed ionic hydrogel conductors becomes feasible and restores function instantly. Soft, transparent multilayered hybrids of elastomers and ionic hydrogels endure biaxial strain with more than 2000% increase in area, facilitating soft transducers, generators, and adaptive lenses. We demonstrate soft electronic devices, from stretchable batteries, self-powered compliant circuits, and autonomous electronic skin for triggered drug delivery. Our approach is applicable in rapid prototyping and in delicate environments inaccessible for extended curing and cross-linking.


Adaptive Optics; Electronic Skins; Soft Batteries; Soft Electronics; Soft Robots; energy harvesting; hydrogels; stretchable electronics

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