Material scientists reconfigure gels using only light
2013-08-06 0:00

By Olivia Solon | Wired

Material scientists have managed to move and reconfigure a type of gel using only light.

A research team from the University of Pittsburgh has demonstrated the ability to manipulate hydrogels -- the material that most contact lenses are made out of -- and has published their work in Advanced Functional Materials.

Lead author Anna Balazs, a Pitt Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, explains: "Imagine an apartment with a particular arrangement of rooms all in one location. Now, consider the possibility of being able to shine a particular configuration of lights on this structure and thereby completely changing not only the entire layout, but also the location of the apartment. This is what weve demonstrated with hydrogels."

Balazs worked with associate professor Olga Kuksenok to explore the behaviour of a type of hydrogel containing spirobenzopyran molecules. Previous studies have shown that this sort of material has the extraordinary property of being "photoswitchable": in the dark it is hydrophilic (likes water) but in the light it becomes hydrophobic. It is by exploiting this property that Balazs and Kuksenok could use light to tailor the gels shape.

The gels appeared to "run away" when exposed to light and heat, showing "direct, sustained motion". They believe this could mean that they could use light to regulate the movement of a microscopic conveyor belt or elevator made from the gel.

[...]

Read the full article at: wired.co.uk









Related Articles
Light that Moves and Molds Gels
Light completely stopped for a record-breaking minute
Sound waves levitate and mix floating drops of liquid


Latest News from our Front Page

Viking Heathen Origin of Horse Meat Taboo
2015-04-21 4:07
YouTube description: The recent horse meat scandal involving Tescos burgers, Ikea meatballs, Findus lasagne and Taco Bell has got people wondering why the English don't eat horses. I covered this subject in my recent dissertation. The answer is to do with paganism. The Catholic church realised that eating horse meat was connected to pagan rites in the North of Europe, ...
Generation Identitaire - Declaration of War
2015-04-21 2:50
We are Generation Identitaire. We are the generation who get killed for glancing at the wrong person, for refusing someone a cigarette, or having an "attitude" that annoys someone. We are the generation of ethnic fracture, total failure of coexistence, and forced mixing of the races. We are the generation doubly punished: Condemned to pay into a social system so ...
No Jab, No Pay reforms: Religious exemptions for vaccination dumped
2015-04-20 20:03
Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations will be scrapped to toughen Australia’s new “no jab, no pay’’ laws stripping welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison revealed he is dumping the last remaining exemption on the books after holding talks with religious leaders. Just a week after The Sunday Telegraph revealed Mr Morrison was scrapping exemptions ...
Inside David Lynch: An Esoteric Guide to Twin Peaks
2015-04-20 18:24
‘I learned that just beneath the surface there’s another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper.’ – David Lynch If you’ve ever sensed the flimsy, thin veneer of what parades itself as the good ole US of A, and felt a bit like you’ve been sold a fake, then David Lynch’s Twin Peaks is a series you must see. ...
Third-gender toilet sign – now a reality in Sweden
2015-04-20 18:29
If you don’t identify yourself as a man, a woman or are officially handicapped — where should you go to relieve yourself? In Sweden, the social justice warriors have solved the problem by inventing a third-gender toilet sign. A couple of years ago, the Swedish language was introduced to a new personal pronoun, “hen“, to replace gender specific hon (she) and ...
More News »