B. Gupta, B. Goudeau, A. Kuhn

Angew.Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 14183-14186

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and CNRS press release

Electrochemical actuation of conducting polymers usually requires a direct connection to an electric power supply. In this contribution, we suggest to overcome this issue by using the concept of bipolar electrochemistry. This allows changing the oxidation state of the polymer in a gradual and wireless way. Free standing polypyrrole films were synthesized with an intrinsic morphological asymmetry of their two faces in order to form a bilayer structure. Immersing such objects in an electrolyte solution and exposing them to a potential gradient leads to the asymmetric oxidation/reduction of the polymer, resulting in differential shrinking and swelling along the main axis. This additional asymmetry is responsible for a structural deformation. Optimization allowed highly efficient bending, which is expected to open up completely new directions in the field of actuation due to the wireless mode of action.

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