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Advanced Materials

Reversible Infrared Actuation of Carbon Nanotube–Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Nanocomposites

Authors

  • Liqiang Yang,

    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and, Department of Materials Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3200 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA)
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  • Kristina Setyowati,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3210 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA)
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  • An Li,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3210 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA)
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  • Shaoqin Gong,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and, Department of Materials Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3200 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA)
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3200 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA).
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  • Jian Chen

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3210 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA)
    • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3210 North Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (USA)
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  • This work was supported by NSF (CMMI-0625245) and a UWM MiTAG award. We acknowledge the valuable discussions with Dr. J. Su at NASA, Dr. J. Naciri and Dr. B. R. Ratna at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and Prof. E. M. Terentjev at Cambridge University. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.

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.

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