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Keywords:

  • carbon nanotubes;
  • infrared actuation;
  • nanocomposites;
  • nematic liquid crystalline elastomers;
  • polymers
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Nanocomposite films comprising polymer-functionalized single-walled carbon-nanotubes (SWNTs) and liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) show a reversible IR-induced strain (∼−30%) at very low SWNT loading levels (≤0.2 wt%). SWNTs can efficiently transform absorbed IR light into thermal energy, thereby serving as a nanoscale heat-source and thermal- conduction pathway. The absorbed thermal-energy induced a nematic– isotropic phase-transition, generating a shape change in the nanocomposite film.