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Steering with light: indexable photomotility in liquid crystalline polymers

Babaei, Mahnoush and Clement, J. Arul and Dayal, Kaushik and Shankar, M. Ravi (2017) Steering with light: indexable photomotility in liquid crystalline polymers. RSC Advances, 7 (83). pp. 52510-52516. ISSN 2046-2069

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Harnessing light to achieve manipulation and motility in meso and mm-scale systems offers the ability to remotely trigger actuation without requiring on-board power. Central to achieving macroscopic photomotility is the generation of asymmetric interaction between the light-responsive actuator and a substrate. Here, we demonstrate a facile route for achieving indexable, stepped translation of structures fabricated from azobenzene-functionalize liquid crystalline polymers (ALCP). The symmetry breaking in the dynamics of coiling (during irradiation) and uncoiling (when the light is turned off) as a function of the director orientation in splayed ALCP strips leads to asymmetric reaction forces in the interaction with a surface. The broken symmetry leads to directional translation of the center of mass in discrete steps for each on/off cycle of irradiation. Creating composite structures offers a route for hard-coding the trajectories of motility across a range of trajectories that are either rectilinear or curvilinear. Expanding this approach can offer a framework for achieving steerable light-powered microrobots that can translate on arbitrary surface topographies.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Babaei, Mahnoush
Clement, J. Arul
Dayal, Kaushik
Shankar, M.
Date: 13 November 2017
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: RSC Advances
Volume: 7
Number: 83
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Page Range: pp. 52510-52516
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1039/c7ra10619j
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Industrial Engineering
Refereed: No
ISSN: 2046-2069
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 15:21
Last Modified: 13 May 2020 15:21


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