Fabrication and characterization of silicone-based dielectric elastomer actuators for mechanical stimulation of living cells

Cellular biology is a promising field of application for dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) given that large strains are needed but only low forces are required. The development of devices compatible with standard cell culture protocols and equipment is however challenging. We recently demonstrated that DEAs can be interfaced with living cells and used to control their mechanical environment. Here we detail the fabrication process of our DEA-based cell stretcher and present a holder which was designed to provide a simple and safe experience for our biologist partners. We also evaluate the actuation performance of the device in terms of strain amplitude, spatial distribution and stability during periodic actuation. Results show that the device can generate more than 30 % uniaxial tensile strain, and achieve more than 12 h of stable actuation performance when cycled between 0 % and 12 % strain at a 1 Hz frequency.

Published in:
Proc. SPIE 10594, 105940V
Presented at:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX, Denver, Colorado, United States, Denver, Colorado, United States

 Record created 2018-04-17, last modified 2019-03-17

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