Photothermally Reprogrammable Buckling of Nanocomposite Gel Sheets

photothermalgels

Patterning deformation within the plane of thin elastic sheets represents a powerful tool for the definition of complex and stimuli-responsive 3D buckled shapes. Previous experimental methods, however, have focused on sheets that access a limited number of shapes pre-programmed into the sheet, restricting the degree of dynamic control. Here, we demonstrate on-demand reconfigurable buckling of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) (PNIPAM) hydrogel network films containing gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) by patterned photothermal deswelling. Predictable, easily controllable, and reversible transformations from a single flat gel sheet to numerous different three-dimensional forms are shown. Importantly, the response time is limited by poroelastic mass transport, rather than photochemical switching kinetics, enabling reconfiguration of shape on timescales of several seconds, with further increases in speed possible by reducing film thickness.

A. W. Hauser, A. A. Evans, J.-H. Na, R. C. Hayward, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., DOI: 10.1002/anie.201412160 (2015) pdf SI

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