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Low‐field actuating magnetic elastomer membranes characterized using fibre‐optic interferometry

Li, Zhi, Coote, Joanna. M., Subburaman, Swathika, Iacoviello, Francesco, Page, Kristopher, Alles, Erwin J., Prokopovich, Polina ORCID:, Parkin, Ivan P., Desjardins, Adrien E. and Noimark, Sacha 2023. Low‐field actuating magnetic elastomer membranes characterized using fibre‐optic interferometry. Advanced Functional Materials 33 (50) , 2301857. 10.1002/adfm.202301857

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Smart robotic devices remotely powered by magnetic field have emerged as versatile tools for wide biomedical applications. Soft magnetic elastomer (ME) composite membranes with high flexibility and responsiveness are frequently incorporated to enable local actuation for wireless sensing or cargo delivery. However, the fabrication of thin ME membranes with good control in geometry and uniformity remains challenging, as well as the optimization of their actuating performances under low fields (milli‐Tesla). In this work, the development of ME membranes comprising of low‐cost magnetic powder and highly soft elastomer through a simple template‐assisted doctor blading approach, is reported. The fabricated ME membranes are controllable in size (up to centimetre‐scale), thickness (tens of microns) and high particle loading (up to 70 wt.%). Conflicting trade‐off effects of particle concentration upon magnetic responsiveness and mechanical stiffness are investigated and found to be balanced off as it exceeds 60 wt.%. A highly sensitive fibre‐optic interferometric sensing system and a customized fibre‐ferrule‐membrane probe are first proposed to enable dynamic actuation and real‐time displacement characterization. Free‐standing ME membranes are magnetically excited under low field down to 2 mT, and optically monitored with nanometer accuracy. The fast and consistent responses of ME membranes showcase their promising biomedical applications in nanoscale actuation and sensing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1616-301X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 September 2023
Date of Acceptance: 31 August 2023
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 14:54

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