Voxelated liquid crystal elastomers

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Science  27 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6225, pp. 982-984
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261019
  • Fig. 1 Digital patterning of LCEs.

    (A) Liquid crystals can be aligned point-by-point by altering surface conditions. (Top) An image (29) is digitized, and the grayscale value is converted to an alignment condition. Between crossed polarizers, the programmed optical rotation of the liquid crystal introduces light and dark regions. (B) Schematic of chemical structure of the main-chain LCE that can be surface-aligned. (C) Transmission of light through an LCE between crossed polarizers in the room-temperature nematic state and high-temperature paranematic state. (D) Biaxial actuation of homogeneously aligned LCE in the absence of mechanical load.

  • Fig. 2 Topological defects, conical actuators.

    (A) Representative photograph of LCE film with nine +1 topological defects between crossed polarizers. As indicated in the inset schematic, the director orientation varies azimuthally around the defect. (B) Upon heating, nine cones arise from the LCE film that reversibly flatten upon cooling. (C) Actuation occurs in the presence of loads tens of times larger than the actuator weight. (D) Quantification of specific work and stroke of a single actuating +1 defect.

  • Fig. 3 Mechanical multi-stability.

    (A) Each individual defect can actuate either up or down, leading to three distinct shapes from a single actuator with three defects. The orientation of the defect is indicated with black and white triangles (B) The potential energy diagram illustrates the presence of two metastable states on heating a single actuating defect.

  • Fig. 4 Origami-inspired actuators.

    (A) Schematic of an edge portion of the Miura-ori pattern with a localized twisted nematic region bounded by unordered regions. (B) At room temperature, the LCE film is flat and upon heating above 150°C collapses in a way reminiscent of Miura-ori. (C) A reversible 5× reduction in area is observed with a negative in-plane Poisson’s ratio.

Supplementary Materials

  • Voxelated liquid crystal elastomers

    Taylor H. Ware, Michael E. McConney, Jeong Jae Wie, Vincent P. Tondiglia, Timothy J. White

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