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Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 8, Number 5, November 2011 , pages 471-486

In situ reduction of gold nanoparticles in PDMS matrices and applications for large strain sensing
Donghyeon Ryu, Kenneth J. Loh, Robert Ireland, Mohammad Karimzada, Frank Yaghmaie and Andrea M. Gusman

    Various types of strain sensors have been developed and widely used in the field for monitoring the mechanical deformation of structures. However, conventional strain sensors are not suited for measuring large strains associated with impact damage and local crack propagation. In addition, strain sensors are resistive-type transducers, which mean that the sensors require an external electrical or power source. In this study, a gold nanoparticle (GNP)-based polymer composite is proposed for large strain sensing. Fabrication of the composites relies on a novel and simple in situ GNP reduction technique that is performed directly within the elastomeric poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) matrix. First, the reducing and stabilizing capacities of PDMS constituents and mixtures are evaluated via visual observation, ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The large strain sensing capacity of the GNP-PDMS thin film is then validated by correlating changes in thin film optical properties (e.g., maximum UV-Vis light absorption) with applied tensile strains. Also, the composite
Key Words
    Beer-Lambert law; gold nanoparticles; nanocomposites; PDMS; strain sensing; thin film.
Donghyeon Ryu and Kenneth J. Loh :Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Robert Ireland, Mohammad Karimzada, Frank Yaghmaie and Andrea M. Gusman: Northern California Nanotechnology Center (NC2), University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

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