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Photo-Mechanical Response Dynamics of Liquid Crystal Elastomer Linear Actuators

1
Photonic Nanostructure Facility, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, ul. Pasteura 5, 02-093 Warsaw, Poland
2
Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science, AGH University of Science and Technology, Al Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2020, 13(13), 2933; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13132933
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 26 June 2020 / Published: 30 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Programmable Anisotropic Materials and Composites)
With continuous miniaturization of many technologies, robotics seems to be lagging behind. While the semiconductor technologies operate confidently at the nanometer scale and micro-mechanics of simple structures (MEMS) in micrometers, autonomous devices are struggling to break the centimeter barrier and have hardly colonized smaller scales. One way towards miniaturization of robots involves remotely powered, light-driven soft mechanisms based on photo-responsive materials, such as liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs). While several simple devices have been demonstrated with contracting, bending, twisting, or other, more complex LCE actuators, only their simple behavior in response to light has been studied. Here we characterize the photo-mechanical response of a linear light-driven LCE actuator by measuring its response to laser beams with varying power, pulse duration, pulse energy, and the energy spatial distribution. Light absorption decrease in the actuator over time is also measured. These results are at the foundation of further development of soft, light-driven miniature mechanisms and micro-robots. View Full-Text
Keywords: liquid crystal elastomer; photo-mechanics; light-powered actuator; micro-robotics; LCE degradation liquid crystal elastomer; photo-mechanics; light-powered actuator; micro-robotics; LCE degradation
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Grabowski, P.; Haberko, J.; Wasylczyk, P. Photo-Mechanical Response Dynamics of Liquid Crystal Elastomer Linear Actuators. Materials 2020, 13, 2933.

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