of external stimuli into mechanical motion capable of performing work
is at the
foundation of fields centered around the fabrication of microrobotics,
artificial muscles, and advanced smart actuator systems for diverse
materials, such as shape memory
dielectric polymers, electro-active polymers, and polymer hydrogels are
examples of material frameworks that appeal to these emerging
group is working on developing materials, structures and devices that
change their shape, color, and functionalities on command by
applying external stimuli. The applied stimulus could
include light, temperature or pH
example, we have shown that by properly patterning and engineering
plastic substrates, self-folding cubes and “flowers” can be made that
reversibly respond to a small change of temperature (Nano Letters,11, 3239-3244, 2011).
recently, we have demonstrated motors
that can self-propel toward or
incident light, and we have developed smart curtains that can
close or open upon light exposure (submitted, 2013).
forward, we envision developing
types of electronic systems, where not only stimuli can be
the system can also respond by changing its shape and/or physical
This presents a new class of user-interactive substrates.