(I) Muscle-mimetic actuators and sensors for soft robotics, (II) energy harvesting for sustainable energy generation and biomedical applications, and (III) functional polymers that are stretchable, transparent, conductive, and self-healing.
The biological world and the engineered world differ in terms of mechanics: human-made machines mostly rely on hard materials, such as metals, while nature makes extensive use of soft materials, with extreme examples like octopus arms. The elegance, adaptability, and efficiency of the designs found in nature inspire the creation of soft machines with unprecedented capabilities. The Keplinger Research Group aims to fundamentally challenge current limits of performance of soft machines, using an interdisciplinary approach that synergizes concepts from soft matter physics and chemistry with advanced engineering technologies. Major themes of research include the development of high-performance, muscle-mimetic actuators based on soft, electroactive structures that replicate the sweeping success of biological muscle, as well as the discovery of soft-matter-based energy harvesting systems that provide sustainable solutions for the use of untapped sources of renewable energy, such as ocean waves.
- Nicholas Kellaris, Vidyacharan Gopaluni-Venkata, Garrett M. Smith, Shane K. Mitchell, Christoph Keplinger. "Peano-HASEL actuators: Muscle-mimetic, electrohydraulic transducers that linearly contract on activation". Science Robotics 3 (14), eaar3276 (2018). Press, Video
- Eric Acome, Shane K. Mitchell, Timothy G. Morrissey, Madison B. Emmett, Claire Benjamin, Madeline King, Miles Radakovitz, Christoph Keplinger. "Hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic actuators with muscle-like performance". Science 359 (6371), 61-65 (2018). Press, Video
- Yue Cao, Timothy G. Morrissey, Eric Acome, Sarah I. Allec, Bryan M. Wong, Christoph Keplinger*, Chao Wang*. “A Transparent, Self-Healing, Highly Stretchable Ionic Conductor”. Advanced Materials 29 (10), 1605099 (2017). Press, Video
- Christoph Keplinger, Jeong-Yun Sun, Choon Chiang Foo, Philipp Rothemund, George M. Whitesides, Zhigang Suo. “Stretchable, Transparent, Ionic Conductors”. Science 341 (6149), 984-987 (2013). Press, Video
- Christoph Keplinger, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Nikita Arnold, Siegfried Bauer. “Roentgen’s electrode-free elastomer actuators without electromechanical pull-in instability”. PNAS 107 (10), 4505-4510 (2010).
- 2017 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering
- 2013 EAPromising European Researcher Award