Background: The ability to fabricate components capable of performing actuation in a reliable and controlled manner is one of the main research topics in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). However, the development of these technologies can be limited in many cases by 2D lithographic techniques employed in the fabrication process. Direct Laser Writing (DLW), a 3D microprinting technique based on two-photon polymerization, can offer novel solutions to prepare, both rapidly and reliably, 3D nano- and microstructures of arbitrary complexity. In addition, the use of functional materials in the printing process can result in the fabrication of smart and responsive devices. Methods: In this study, we present a novel methodology for the printing of 3D actuating microelements comprising Liquid Crystal Elastomers (LCEs) obtained by DLW. The alignment of the mesogens was performed using a static electric field (1.7 V/µm) generated by indium-tin oxide (ITO) electrodes patterned directly on the printing substrates. Results: When exposed to a temperature higher than 50°C, the printed microstructures actuated rapidly and reversibly of about 8% in the direction perpendicular to the director. Conclusions: A novel methodology was developed that allows the printing of directional actuators comprising LCEs via DLW. To impart the necessary alignment of the mesogens, a static electric field was applied before the printing process by making use of flat ITO electrodes present on the printing substrates. The resulting microelements showed a reversible change in shape when heated higher than 50 °C.

Direct laser writing of liquid crystal elastomers oriented by a horizontal electric field

Omar Tricinci;Stefano Palagi;Virgilio Mattoli
2021

Abstract

Background: The ability to fabricate components capable of performing actuation in a reliable and controlled manner is one of the main research topics in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). However, the development of these technologies can be limited in many cases by 2D lithographic techniques employed in the fabrication process. Direct Laser Writing (DLW), a 3D microprinting technique based on two-photon polymerization, can offer novel solutions to prepare, both rapidly and reliably, 3D nano- and microstructures of arbitrary complexity. In addition, the use of functional materials in the printing process can result in the fabrication of smart and responsive devices. Methods: In this study, we present a novel methodology for the printing of 3D actuating microelements comprising Liquid Crystal Elastomers (LCEs) obtained by DLW. The alignment of the mesogens was performed using a static electric field (1.7 V/µm) generated by indium-tin oxide (ITO) electrodes patterned directly on the printing substrates. Results: When exposed to a temperature higher than 50°C, the printed microstructures actuated rapidly and reversibly of about 8% in the direction perpendicular to the director. Conclusions: A novel methodology was developed that allows the printing of directional actuators comprising LCEs via DLW. To impart the necessary alignment of the mesogens, a static electric field was applied before the printing process by making use of flat ITO electrodes present on the printing substrates. The resulting microelements showed a reversible change in shape when heated higher than 50 °C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11382/545951
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