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Wheels and Motors Within the Material

Igor Kulic (CNRS, Institut Charles Sadron, Strasbourg)
When Dec 02, 2019
from 11:00 to 12:00
Where Amphi. G
Attendees Igor Kulic
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What are “smart materials”? As the saying goes: Smart is what smart does. And this is true for materials as well. Material smartness is sometimes an emergent, contextual feature, residing in none of the individual parts but only in the larger “whole”. In this talk we will explore how an emergent material parameter – the topological eigenstrain- transforms very mundane polymers into smart, active ones.

In the first part we will utilize topological polymer entanglement to macroscopically leverage molecular motions of light driven nanomotors [1]. In a second example we will see how common polymer fibers can be transformed into self-propelled “fiber-boids” and rotary engines. We will pinpoint topological zero-energy modes as the new paradigm for embedding a wheel within a single piece of material. In contrast to the traditional wheel traveling around a fixed rigid axle, in the "wheel within" [2] it is an active elastic deformation that cyclically glides through the responsive material. The inherent scalability of the motif make the “wheel within” ready for further miniaturization.

[1] F. Weisser, O. Benzerara, A. Johner and I.M.Kulić, Topological energy storage of work generated by nanomotors , Soft Matter 11, 732 (2015); Q. Li, G. Fuks, E. Moulin, M.Maaloum, M.Rawiso, I.M.Kulić, J.T. Foy and N. Giuseppone, Macroscopic contraction of a gel induced by the integrated motion of light-driven molecular motors Nature Nanotechnology 10, 161 (2015)

[2] A. Baumann, A. Sánchez-Ferrer, L. Jacomine, P. Martinoty, V. Le Houerou, F. Ziebert & I. M. Kulić , Motorizing fibres with geometric zero-energy modes , Nature Materials, 17, 523 (2018)

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