Soft gold nanowire sponges for strain-insensitive conductors, wearable energy storage and catalytic converters

Fenge Lin, Kaixuan Wang, Tiance An, Bowen Zhu, Yunzhi Ling, Shu Gong, Siyuan Liu, Wenlong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Electronics is evolving from rigid, flexible to ultimate stretchable electronics in which active optoelectronic materials are required to deposit onto or embedded into elastomeric materials. We have recently demonstrated a powerful solution-based electroless gold coating technology, which enables growth of enokitake-like gold nanowires on two-dimensional elastomeric sheets and one-dimensional fibers for a wide of applications in wearable bioelectronics. Here, we show that such an elastomeric gold coating technology can be extended to three-dimensional (3D) elastomeric sponges. We have successfully grown vertically-aligned enokitake-like gold nanowires (v-AuNWs) uniformly throughout 3D sponge skeletons, leading to highly conductive sponge with a conductivity up to about 1500 S/m. This, in conjunction with embedment of Ecoflex into porous v-AuNWs sponge, leads to a strain-insensitive conductor that only changes about 17.3% in resistance under 50% strain, 83.3% in resistance under 100% strain. The conductor can be stretched up to ~340% strain before losing conductivity. Furthermore, the strain-insensitive sponge conductors are used as electrodes to fabricate elastic supercapacitor which can retain 102% and 99% of initial capacitance under 50% compression strain and 180º bending, respectively. In addition, our gold sponge is also catalytically active and can serve as recyclable 3D porous catalyst (achieving 90% conversion efficiency even after 10 cycles of 4-nitrophenol reduction reaction). The results presented here demonstrate a simple yet efficient wet chemical approach to multifunctional sponge for applications in stretchable electronics, wearable energy devices and catalysis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Oct 2021

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