The conversion of light energy into mechanical energy for directed photoactuation is a goal that has been pursued for decades. This work has led to azobenzene liquid-crystal polymers (LCPs), which demonstrate photo-activated bending when irradiated with UV or blue-green light. This intriguing phenomenon has potential to significantly impact the fields of Lab-on-a-Chip, MEMS and soft robotics, but the jump into practical application requires precise fabrication of azobenzene-based structures capable of being leveraged into useful and efficient photomechanical work. Three such configurations have been designed to this end: azobenzene films patterned by soft lithography, azobenzene nanofibers and azobenzene nanobeads.
Logan Butt, Matthew Strohmayer, Tristen Head, Atul Dhall, Lauren Sfakis, Natalya Tokranova, and James Castracane, "Photoactuation: novel MEMS-based constructs and applications of azobenzene ," Proc. SPIE 10491, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XVI, 1049104 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 27, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290790.
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