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Biomimetic 3D Color-Changing Hydrogel Actuators Constructed Based on Soft Permeable Photonic Crystals

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-14, 05:30 authored by Jinghua Duan, Lu Cui, Mingyang Li, Wenxin Fan, Kunyan Sui
The integration of photonic crystals and self-shaping actuators is a promising method for constructing powerful biomimetic color-changing actuators. The major barrier is that common photonic crystals generally block the transfer/orientation of monomers/fillers and hence hinder the formation of heterogeneous structures for programmed 3D deformations as well as degrade the deformation capacity and mechanical properties of actuators. Herein, we present the construction of complex and strong 3D color-changing hydrogel actuators by asymmetric photolithography based on soft, permeable photonic crystals. The soft permeable photonic crystals are assembled by hydrogel microspheres with an ultralow volume fraction. During the asymmetric photolithography, the monomers in precursor solutions can thus transfer freely to generate heterogeneous microstructures, spatially patterned internal stresses, and interpenetrating networks for programming the deformation trajectories and initial 3D configurations and enhancing mechanical properties of actuators. Various 3D color-changing hydrogel actuators (e.g., flower and scroll painting) are constructed for applications such as information encryption and display.

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