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Open AccessArticle

Opposite Self-Folding Behavior of Polymeric Photoresponsive Actuators Enabled by a Molecular Approach

1
European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), via Nello Carrara 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
2
National Institute of Optics, CNR-INO, via Nello Carrara 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
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Dipartimento di Scienze e Innovazione Tecnologica (DISIT), Universitá del Piemonte Orientale “A. Avogadro”, INSTM, UdR Alessandria, Viale T. Michel 11, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
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Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Florence, Via G. Sansone 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
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Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica INRiM, Strada delle Cacce, 91, 10135 Turin, Italy
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Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, via N. Carrara 3-13, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1644; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101644
Received: 3 September 2019 / Revised: 8 October 2019 / Accepted: 9 October 2019 / Published: 10 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photoresponsive Polymeric Materials)
The ability to obtain 3D polymeric objects by a 2D-to-3D shape-shifting method is very appealing for polymer integration with different materials, from metals in electronic devices to cells in biological studies. Such functional reshaping can be achieved through self-folding driven by a strain pattern designed into the molecular network. Among polymeric materials, liquid crystalline networks (LCNs) present an anisotropic molecular structure that can be exploited to tailor internal strain, resulting in a natural non-planar geometry when prepared in the form of flat films. In this article, we analyze the influence of different molecular parameters of the monomers on the spontaneous shape of the polymeric films and their deformation under different stimuli, such as heating or light irradiation. Modifying the alkilic chains of the crosslinkers is a simple and highly effective way to increase the temperature sensitivity of the final actuator, while modifying ester orientation on the aromatic core interestingly acts on the bending direction. Combining such effects, we have demonstrated that LCN stripes made of different monomeric mixtures originate complex non-symmetric deformation under light activation, thus opening up new applications in photonic and robotics. View Full-Text
Keywords: liquid crystalline networks; photoresponsive polymers; shape-changing materials; curvature design; photonic actuators liquid crystalline networks; photoresponsive polymers; shape-changing materials; curvature design; photonic actuators
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martella, D.; Nocentini, S.; Antonioli, D.; Laus, M.; Wiersma, D.S.; Parmeggiani, C. Opposite Self-Folding Behavior of Polymeric Photoresponsive Actuators Enabled by a Molecular Approach. Polymers 2019, 11, 1644.

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