Electroactive polymers (EAP) such as conducting polymers are interesting materials not only forprinted, low cost electronics, photovoltaics and light emitting devices but also for use in soft actuators.These “smart” materials deform in response to electrical simulation and are often addressed asartificial muscles due to their functional similarity with natural muscles. The materials operate at lowvoltages, can use aqueous electrolytes and have been shown to be biocompatible. In addition since thematerials are both ion and electronic conductive they can be an interface between traditional hardelectronics that communicate by electrons and soft, wet biological materials such as tissue and cellsthat predominantly communicate by ionic signals. This makes the materials interesting candidates forbioelectronic applications including tissue engineering. Likewise the fact that they are lightweight andoperate silently makes them suitable as compliant actuators for soft robotics.Tissue engineering and stem cell therapy are the promising treatments of cardiac infarctions. Thestem cell niche is vital for the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells and tissue regeneration.An artificial carrier, e.g. a scaffold, is needed to introduce stem cells into the host tissue as directinjection of stem cells showed fast stem cell death. We are currently developing EAP scaffoldingfabrics for cardiac tissue engineering. The electrospun EAP scaffold mimics the extracellular matrixand provides a 3D microenvironment that can be easily tuned during fabrication, such as controllablefibre dimensions, alignment, and coating. In addition, the scaffold provides electrical andelectromechanical stimulation1 to the stem cells which are important external stimuli to stem celldifferentiation. This stimulation is expected to increase the differentiation ratio of stem cells intocardiomyocytes2,3. Excellent biocompatibility was achieved using primary cardiovascular progenitorcells4. We present the fabrication, electrochemical and electromechanical characterisation as well asthe response of the stem cells to the scaffolds and to the stimulation.Likewise we can use advanced textile technology to create a new type of soft actuators: electroactivetextiles. Textile technology allows for a rational assembly of fibres. We developed new EAP basedfibres, or yarn, employing a metal-free combined chemical-electrochemical synthesis route5 andassembled them in to EAP fabrics that show enhanced performance over individual fibres. We willpresent the fabrication and characterisation of these fibres and fabrics as well as their performance aslinear actuators.(1) Svennersten, K.; Berggren, M.; Richter-Dahlfors, A.; Jager, E. W. H. Lab on a Chip 2011, 11, 3287.(2) Shimizu, N.; Yamamoto, K.; Obi, S.; Kumagaya, S.; Masumura, T.; Shimano, Y.; Naruse, K.; Yamashita, J.K.; Igarashi, T.; Ando, J. Journal of Applied Physiology 2008, 104, 766.(3) Ghafar-Zadeh, E.; Waldeisen, J. R.; Lee, L. P. Lab on a Chip 2011, 11, 3031.(4) Gelmi, A.; Ljunggren, M.; Rafat, M.; Jager, E. W. H. Journal of Materials Chemistry B 2014, 2, 3860.(5) Maziz, A.; Persson, N.-K.; Jager, E. W. H. In Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2012;Bar-Cohen, Y., Ed.; SPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering: San Diego, USA, 2015; Vol. 9430, p9430.
EUPOC2015 – Conducting Polymeric Materials, Gargnano, Italy, 24-28 May 2015