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Published November 13, 2017 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Harnessing Photochemical Shrinkage in Direct Laser Writing for Shape Morphing of Polymer Sheets


Structures that change their shape in response to external stimuli unfold possibilities for more efficient and versatile production of 3D objects. Direct laser writing (DLW) is a technique based on two-photon polymerization that allows the fabrication of microstructures with complex 3D geometries. Here, it is shown that polymerization shrinkage in DLW can be utilized to create structures with locally controllable residual stresses that enable programmable, self-bending behavior. To demonstrate this concept, planar and 3D-structured sheets are preprogrammed to evolve into bio-inspired shapes (lotus flowers and shark skins). The fundamental mechanisms that control the self-bending behavior are identified and tested with microscale experiments. Based on the findings, an analytical model is introduced to quantitatively predict bending curvatures of the fabricated sheets. The proposed method enables simple fabrication of objects with complex geometries and precisely controllable shape morphing potential, while drastically reducing the required fabrication times for producing 3D, hierarchical microstructures over large areas in the order of square centimeters.

Additional Information

© 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Received: May 30, 2017; Revised: July 8, 2017; Published online: September 25, 2017. This work was partially funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation through grant "MechNanoTruss–Mechanical response of polymer nanotruss scaffolds" (No. 164375). The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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