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Title: Designing Dual-functionalized Gels for Self-reconfiguration and Autonomous Motion

Human motion is enabled by the concerted expansion and contraction of interconnected muscles that are powered by inherent biochemical reactions. One of the challenges in the field of biomimicry is eliciting this form of motion from purely synthetic materials, which typically do not generate internalized reactions to drive mechanical action. Moreover, for practical applications, this bio-inspired motion must be readily controllable. Herein, we develop a computational model to design a new class of polymer gels where structural reconfigurations and internalized reactions are intimately linked to produce autonomous motion, which can be directed with light. These gels contain both spirobenzopyran (SP) chromophores and the ruthenium catalysts that drive the oscillatory Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. Importantly, both the SP moieties and the BZ reaction are photosensitive. When these dual-functionalized gels are exposed to non-uniform illumination, the localized contraction of the gel (due to the SP moieties) in the presence of traveling chemical waves (due to the BZ reaction) leads to new forms of spontaneous, self-sustained movement, which cannot be achieved by either of the mono-functionalized networks.
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Pittsburgh, PA (United States). Chemical Engineering Dept.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Univ. of Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States