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submitted on 18.09.2019 and posted on 23.09.2019by Zhao Li, Xiaofan Ji, Junyi Gong, Yubing Hu, Wenjie Wu, Xinnan Wang, Hui-Qing Peng, Ryan Tsz Kin Kwok, Jacky W. Y. Lam, Ben Zhong Tang
stimuli-responsive materials with complex practical functions is significant
for achieving bioinspired artificial intelligence. It is challenging to
fabricate stimuli-responsive hydrogels showing simultaneous changes in
fluorescence color, brightness and shape in response to one stimulus.
Herein a bilayer hydrogel strategy was designed by utilizing an
aggregation-induced emission luminogen (AIEgen) tetra-(4-pyridylphenyl)ethylene
(TPE-4Py) to fabricate hydrogels with the above capabilities. Bilayer hydrogel
actuators with ionomer of poly(acrylamide-r-sodium 4-styrenesulfonate) (PAS) as
matrix of both active and passive layers and TPE-4Py as the core function
element in the active layer were prepared. At acidic pH, the protonation of
TPE-4Py led to fluorescence color and brightness changes of the actuators and
the electrostatic interactions between the protonated TPE-4Py and
benzenesulfonate groups of PAS chains in the active layer caused the actuators
to deform. The proposed TPE-4Py/PAS-based bilayer hydrogel actuators with such
responsiveness to stimulus provide pregnant insights in the design of intelligent
systems and are highly attractive material candidates in fields of 3D/4D
printing, soft robots and smart wearable