Thermal and Photo Actuators Based on Temperature-Responsive Hydrogel and Nanocomposites


Ying Zhou


Ying Zhou (1), Adam W. Hauser (1), Mark G. Kuzyk (2), Ryan C. Hayward (1)

Author Affiliation: 

1 Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts-Amherst 2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Washington State University


Combining temperature-responsive hydrogels with plasmonic nanoparticles that transduce light into heat provides a simple and effective route to prepare photo-responsive materials. Using nanocomposites of poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PNIPAm) hydrogels loaded with gold nanoparticles, we explore the fabrication and light/temperature-induced deformation of micro-scale actuators with different geometries: planar bilayer actuators fabricated by photo lithography and cylindrical actuators fabricated by depositing PNIPAm droplets on fibers of passive materials. In addition to actuation by flood exposure, 532 nm laser light can be waveguided through a plastic optical fiber into the photoactuator, providing the possibility for remotely controllable actuators that do not require line-of-sight access.