Self-Powered Multifunction Ionic Skins Based on Gradient Polyelectrolyte Hydrogels

Mingyang Xia, Na Pan, Chao Zhang, Chengjing Zhang, Wenxin Fan, Yanzhi Xia, Zuankai Wang, Kunyan Sui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Human skin is the largest organ, and it can transform multiple external stimuli into the biopotential signals by virtue of ions as information carriers. Ionic skins (i-skins) that can mimic human skin have been extensively explored; however, the limited sensing capacities as well as the need of an extra power supply significantly restrict their broad applications. Herein, we develop self-powered humanlike i-skins based on gradient polyelectrolyte membranes (GPMs) that can directly and accurately perceive multiple stimuli. Prepared by a hydrogel-assisted reaction-diffusion method, the GPMs exhibit gradient-distributed charged groups across polymer networks, enabling one to generate a thickness-dependent and thermoresponsive self-induced potential in a hydrated situation and in a humidity-sensitive self-induced potential in a dehydrated/dried situation, respectively. Consequently, the GPM-based i-skins can precisely detect pressure, temperature, and humidity in a self-powered manner. The coupling of mechano-electric and thermo-electric effects inherent in GPMs provides a general strategy for developing innovative self-powered ion-based perception systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4714-4725
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • gradient polyelectrolyte membranes
  • ionic skins
  • multifunction sensors
  • reaction-diffusion
  • self-induced potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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