Unique graphene oxide formation for soft robotics applications

Unique graphene oxide formation for soft robotics applications

The concept of quantum confined superfluid (QSF) has been proposed for ultrafast mass transport and is mainly related to the orderly flow of fluids in nano-confined spaces. Although QSF channel-containing graphene oxide films are emerging as smart materials for soft robots and actuators, QSF nanochannels have been modified to regulate graphene oxide deformation.

Stady: Reconfigurable, reversible and redefinable deformation of GO based on quantum confined superfluid effect. Image Credit: Ambelrip / Shutterstock.com

Article published in nano messages Introduced an adjustable, reversible and reversible graphene oxide deformation method under moisture operation by modulating QSF nanochannels via moisture-supported stress (MSW)-induced wrinkling.

After the MSW process, the shape stability of the standard graphene oxide film was 84%, and the shape recovery ratio was 83% under the influence of moisture at ambient temperature. It was conceivable to make robots out of graphene oxide due to its deformation, elastic forming capabilities, and self-healing properties.

Additionally, as a proof of concept, soft robots and passive electronics that can crawl, spin, switch circuits and somersault automatically were demonstrated. Thus, future soft robots may greatly benefit from the unique shape and deformation capabilities of graphene oxide.

graphene oxide based smart materials

Innovative uses of smart materials include soft robotics, biomedical devices, aerospace engineering, and the ability to control deformation in response to external stimuli, such as heat, humidity, magnetic fields, and chemicals.

Hydrogels and azobenzene derivatives with swelling, torsion and contraction properties have been extensively studied as intrinsically smart materials. However, its mechanistic applicability is limited by isotropic shape change or reconfiguration.

Smart materials can be mixed with other inert materials to create a stimuli-sensitive bilayer motor that can provide better control of deformation. As a consequence, the stimuli-induced stress mismatch at the interface of the two materials results in a predictable deformation and makes orderly operation possible.

Graphene oxide is a useful and promising material for graphene-based applications in electronics, optics, chemistry, energy storage, and biology. Recently, graphene oxide has emerged as a flexible smart material for bilayer actuators such as metals, polymers, metal oxides, biomaterials and carbon.

Previous studies described the fabrication of moisture-sensitive actuators based on graphene/graphene bilayer fibers using femtosecond selective laser reduction. Next, a self-organized photoextraction of a graphene oxide film was developed to create a light gradient in the typical direction of moisture running to build graphene oxide actuators with a larger area.

Moreover, the bending direction can be regulated by designing fine patterns. The self-controlled optical suction of graphene oxide films can induce an optical gradient along the direction of operation of the moisture.

While a previous study validated rapid water transport in stacked graphene oxide, another study reported QSF, which indicates the ultrafast water flow in the restricted two-dimensional (2D) nanochannel.

Deformation of graphene oxide based on the effect of quantum confined superfluids

In this study, the elastic sewing of graphene oxide QSF nanochannels was demonstrated by the MSW effect, allowing reversible, reconfigurable and redefinable deformations under moisture operation.

QSF-based graphene oxide actuators showed a faster moisture response than moisture-responsive graphene oxide with integrated inert materials. Moreover, QSF-based graphene oxide actuators can effectively prevent the instability of interlayer adhesion.

Implementation of the mechanical deformation of the graphene oxide film under high humidity conditions helped to program the orientation of the nanocrinkle, which resulted in the formation of QSF nanochannels due to strain mismatch and reassembly of the graphene oxide nanosheet.

Thus, the operation of internally oriented QSF channels enabled the temporary shaping of the graphene oxide film into the desired geometries. However, despite the shape, the graphene oxide film was flattened under the influence of moisture due to the rapid transport of water through the QSF channels, which resulted in a swelling effect.

Graphene oxide films can be used in robotics due to their arbitrarily specified deformation capacity. Here, the potential of graphene oxide actuators in robotics is demonstrated by the design and fabrication of three proof-of-concept soft robots, including a crawling robot that can crawl about one centimeter in 15 seconds, a robot that can rotate 210 degrees in 56 seconds, and a robotic Somersault He can complete a somersault within 20 seconds.


In summary, the MSW effect of the graphene oxide nanosheets modulated the QSF nanochannels, facilitating the flexible, resizable and reversible deformation of graphene oxide under moisture operation.

The deformation mechanism has been studied experimentally and theoretically to the inverse deformation ability of QSF nanochannels and water absorption/absorption. The graphene oxide film can be defined as any temporary form via a four-step process (wetting, fixation, dehydration, and releasing) and restored to its original shape under the influence of moisture.

Due to the flexible deformation and deformation capabilities of graphene oxide, moisture-responsive robots were fabricated using pure graphene oxide as a smart material. Furthermore, passive electromechanical devices and soft robots have been developed as proof of concept, indicating the potential of graphene oxide-based devices.


Ma, JN, Zhang, YL, Han, DD, & Sun, HB (2022). Reconfigurable, reversible and redefinable deformation of GO based on the effect of quantum confined superfluids. nano messages. Available at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c02212

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