Dielectric elastomers (DEs) are soft and stretchable structures that are typically used as actuators, sensors, and energy harvesters and can perform basic signal processing tasks. Thus, they can be used to create multi-functional and autonomous DE structures, with intrinsic information processing capabilities, that require fewer external components. This contribution introduces how to assemble electronic circuits with DEs, in a similar way to how transistors are employed in conventional electronics. The focus is on the design of digital circuits. At first, parallels between digital signal processing with DEs and with conventional transistors are shown. After describing the differences in the working conditions (e.g., working voltages) of the two structures, it is demonstrated that various design techniques, commonly adopted in conventional electronics, can be used to build DE electronics. The functioning is demonstrated by presenting alternative ways of designing NOR and XOR gates, reducing, in the latter case, the number of components required. Moreover, pass transistor logic is employed to realize a DE multiplexer. This work illustrates a consistent method to realize digital circuits with DEs, and it demonstrates how electronic design techniques can be adapted to work with DEs. It shows that DE circuits can be built starting from their conventional counterpart, obtaining improved devices.
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Research Article| December 27 2021
Digital electronics using dielectric elastomer structures as transistors
L. Ciarella ;
L. Ciarella, A. Richter, E.-F. M. Henke; Digital electronics using dielectric elastomer structures as transistors. Appl. Phys. Lett. 27 December 2021; 119 (26): 261901. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0074821
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