Recently，Professor Yang Hong and his group in School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, SEU published their latest research results about a plant tendril mimic soft actuator with phototunable bending and chiral twisting motion modes in the leading journal Nature Communications.
In nature, plant tendrils can produce two fundamental motion modes, bending and chiral twisting (helical curling) distortions, under the stimuli of sunlight, humidity, wetting or other atmospheric conditions. To date, many artificial plant-like mechanical machines have been developed. Although some previously reported materials could realize bending or chiral twisting through tailoring the samples into various ribbons along different orientations, each single ribbon could execute only one deformation mode. The challenging task is how to endow one individual plant tendril mimic material with two different, fully tunable and reversible motion modes (bending and chiral twisting). Yang’s group showed a dual-layer, dual-composition polysiloxane-based liquid crystal soft actuator strategy to synthesize a plant tendril mimic material capable of performing two different three-dimensional reversible transformations (bending versus chiral twisting) through modulation of the wavelength band of light stimuli (ultraviolet versus near-infrared). This material has broad application prospects in biomimetic control devices.
Original Article: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13981