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Liquid Crystal Elastomer Waveguide Actuators

Kuenstler, Alexa S.; Kim, Hyunki; Hayward, Ryan C.

By 27 January 2020No Comments

Advanced Materials, 2019, vol 31, 24, pp. 1901216



While most photomechanical materials developed to date have relied on free-space illumination to drive actuation, this strategy fails when direct line-of-site access is precluded. In this study, waveguided light is harnessed by liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) nanocomposites to drive actuation. Using photo-chemical reduction of gold salts to plasmonic nanoparticles, prescription of photoresponsive regions within fibers of mono-domain LCEs is demonstrated with control over both the location along the fiber axis, as well as in the azimuthal direction. Due to localized photothermal heating provided by plasmonic absorption of waveguided light and resulting inhomogeneous thermally induced deformation of the LCE, reversible bending along multiple axes is demonstrated.

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