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IONGELS: FROM NEW CHEMISTRY TOWARD EMERGING APPLICATIONS

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IONBIKE (IONGELS: FROM NEW CHEMISTRY TOWARD EMERGING APPLICATIONS)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Within the last decade, a new class of gels named IONGELS has emerged with properties and characteristics mimicking those found in biological systems. These conductive iongels, composites consisting of an ionic liquid or electrolyte solution immobilised in a solid polymer network, are perfect for bioelectronics including wearable sensors, electronic skin and organic transistors for a variety of applications. The EU-funded IONBIKE RISE project is fostering a global collaboration involving the exchange of knowledge and staff to develop health and fitness monitoring devices based on these unique soft and stretchable conductive gels.

IONBIKE RISE partnership puts together 4 European beneficiaries (3 academic and 1 industry) and 5 non- European academic partners aiming to fully develop the chemistry and applications of innovative iongels for
bioelectronics. The development of this topic needs the synergic participation of researchers with different expertise such as bio-ionic liquids, polymers, gels, advanced characterization, electrochemistry, biology as well as applications experts in bioelectronic devices such as implantable electrodes for electrophysiology, batteries and organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). The objective of IONBIKE RISE is to promote international and intersectoral collaboration by putting together world organizations with international recognition and different expertises as shown in the scheme below. This will be achieved through research and innovation staff exchanges and sharing of knowledge and ideas from research to market.
IONBIKE is developing an intensive research and networking program between European and non-European institutions in the area of new materials for bioelectronics. The scientific project tries to combine in a synergetic manner the unique technical expertises of the different nodes. World pioneers in the areas of ionic liquids, iongels, (semi)conducting polymers, advanced materials characterization and (bio)electronic devices will work together towards a common goal. In this first period of the project most of the efforts have been devoted to the development of new materials and its characterizations. The main results obtained so far are summarized in the next bullet points:

• Synthesis and selection of components for innovative iongels such as bio-ionic liquids, deep-eutectic solvents, poly(ionic liquid)s, biodegradable polymers, functional biopolymers, semi-conjugated polymers and PEDOTs.
• Synthesis and characterization of biodegradable and/or biocompatible iongels based on cholinium bio-ionic liquids and thermoreversible polymers.
• Synthesis of iongels endowed with mixed ionic-electronic conductivity by combining into a gel (semi)conjugated conducting polymers such as PEDOT and ionic liquids.
• Structural, thermal, mechanical, morphological and functional (i.e. ionic conductivity, electronic conductivity) characterization of the new iongels.
• Processing of innovative iongels using additive manufacturing methods such as extrusion 3D printing
• Better understanding of the relationship between molecular composition/macromolecular structure, functionality and biodegradability and mixed ionic/electronic conducting iongels.
• Application of iongels in bioelectronic devices for health and fitness, particularly in electrodes for electrophysiological recordings, long-lasting cutaneous electrophysiology, electroencephalography and heart-monitoring and other applications such as batteries, water purification or corrosion protection.

The project will pursue the development of devices for health and fitness monitoring such as long-lasting electrodes for electrophysilogical recordings for brain, heart and muscular activity or new all-solid organic electrochemical transitors.
So far, the main progress beyond the state of the art has been related to the materials development. A non-exhaustive list of materials progresses include innovative iongels combining biocompatibility, biodegradability and excellent ion and electronic conducting properties based on new biodegradable polymers, functional biopolymers, semi-conjugated polymers and PEDOTs. The originality of the new materials has made the dissemination activities (number and quality of scientific articles, presentations in conferences) in the first reporting period to be high. In the second part of the project, IONBIKE RISE will pursue the development of innovative iongel materials and bioelectronic devices for health and fitness monitoring such as long-lasting electrodes for electrophysilogical recordings for brain, heart and muscular activity or new all-solid organic electrochemical transitors. Thus, in the second reporting period IONBIKE, will mainly focus in the development of new devices using the the iongel materials developed in the first reporting period. The exchange of know-how will promote the development of excellence science and also innovation. This effort will help to turn creative ideas into innovative products which will be exploited by the participating company PANAXIUM.
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