Snapping Surfaces


  • Funding for this work was provided by the Army Research Office Young Investigator Program. The authors thank Edwin P. Chan and Kyriaki Kalaitzidou for insightful discussions, and acknowledge NSF-MRSEC Central Facilities for use of their SEM, as well as Professor McCarthy's group for use of their oxygen-plasma cleaner.


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A simple, robust, biomimetic responsive surface based on controlled elastic instabilities using an array of microlens shells as a surface geometry is presented. The snap-through transition is dictated by geometry, length-scale, and materials properties, thus the transition time, triggering sensitivity, and magnitude change are highly tunable. Their potential use as a rapidly switchable optical device is illustrated.