American Chemical Society
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Controllable and Stable Deformation of a Self-Healing Photo-Responsive Supramolecular Assembly for an Optically Actuated Manipulator Arm

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posted on 2018-07-26, 00:00 authored by Qianyu Si, Yiyu Feng, Weixiang Yang, Linxia Fu, Qinghai Yan, Liqi Dong, Peng Long, Wei Feng
It is highly challenging to achieve an optically deformable polymer with good controllability, stability, and self-healability for fabricating an optically controlled microrobotics. Here, we present a photo-responsive self-healing supramolecular assembly cross-linked by 3,3′,5,5′-azobenzenetetracarboxylic acid (t-Azo) enabling the controllable and stable deformation. The network (PAA-u) of polyacrylic acid (PAA) grafted with 2-ureido-4­[1H]-pyrimidinone (UPy) is formed via multiple intermolecular hydrogen bonds (H-bonds) between UPy and t-Azo moieties. Molecular H-bonds stabilize the cis-isomer, enables stress transfer at the interface, and also contributes to fast healability. The PAA-u/t-Azo assembly shows a green-light-induced bending deformation, which recovers its shape under the irradiation of UV light. On the basis of this controllable and reversible deformation, the PAA-u/t-Azo “hand” realizes reversible light-driven grabbing and releasing of an object by optimizing bending and recovery. The assembly also shows a fast and excellent self-healing performance irradiated by green light during deformation. The multiple-H-bonding-cross-linked assembly with stable deformation and fast self-healability can be used for the development of a multitude of advanced microrobotics.