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Reversible Adhesion via Light-Regulated Conformations of Rubber Chains

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journal contribution
posted on 26.11.2019, 17:34 authored by Xin Wang, Di Tan, Shiqi Hu, Qian Li, Baisong Yang, Zhekun Shi, Rakesh Das, Xinliang Xu, Zhong-Shuai Wu, Longjian Xue
Bio-inspired reversible adhesives have attracted great attention because of their promising applications in the electronic, biomedical, and robotic fields. Here, to achieve in situ reversible adhesion, a new concept is demonstrated by modulating the conformations of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) chains. The new adhesive, termed BGPP, is composed of the graphene/PDMS composite (GP) as the backing layer and PDMS as the micropillar array. The photothermal effect of graphene under UV irradiation heats up the micropillars, resulting in an increase in the chain conformations of PDMS and thus the contact points with the counterpart surface. The more contact points together with the alignment of PDMS chains during the shearing result in an adhesion much higher than that without UV irradiation. The adhesion switching thus does not rely on the changing of the contact area, and so the macroscopic deformation of structures is avoided. The results suggest a new design principle for light-controllable structured adhesive, which could be conceptualized into other rubbery materials.