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Photo-Motile Structures

Korner, Kevin and Audoly, Basile and Bhattacharya, Kaushik (2019) Photo-Motile Structures. . (Unpublished)

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Actuation remains a signifcant challenge in soft robotics. Actuation by light has important advantages: objects can be actuated from a distance, distinct frequencies can be used to actuate and control distinct modes with minimal interference and signifcant power can be transmitted over long distances through corrosion-free, lightweight fiber optic cables. Photo-chemical processes that directly convert photons to configurational changes are particularly attractive for actuation. Various researchers have demonstrated light-induced actuation with liquid crystal elastomers combined with azobenzene photochromes. We present a simple modeling framework and a series of examples that studies actuation by light. Of particular interest is the generation of cyclic or periodic motion under steady illumination. We show that this emerges as a result of a coupling between light absorption and deformation. As the structure absorbs light and deforms, the conditions of illumination change, and this in turn changes the nature of further deformation. This coupling can be exploited in either closed structures or with structural instabilities to generate cyclic motion.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Audoly, Basile0000-0002-0534-1467
Bhattacharya, Kaushik0000-0003-2908-5469
Additional Information:This work started while BA visited Caltech as a Moore Distinguished Scholar in 2017-18. We are pleased to acknowledge useful discussions with Alexa Kuenstler and Ryan Hayward. KK and KB gratefully acknowledge the support of the US Office of Naval Research through the MURI grant ONR N00014-18-1-2624. KK also acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1745301.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-18-1-2624
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1745301
Subject Keywords:Actuation, Photomechanical materials, Liquid crystal elastomers, Azobenzene, Propulsion
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191111-090332268
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99773
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Nov 2019 17:59
Last Modified:12 Nov 2019 17:59

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