Research ArticleSOFT MATTER PHYSICS

Mimosa Origami: A nanostructure-enabled directional self-organization regime of materials

Science Advances  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 6, e1600417
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600417

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Abstract

One of the innate fundamentals of living systems is their ability to respond toward distinct stimuli by various self-organization behaviors. Despite extensive progress, the engineering of spontaneous motion in man-made inorganic materials still lacks the directionality and scale observed in nature. We report the directional self-organization of soft materials into three-dimensional geometries by the rapid propagation of a folding stimulus along a predetermined path. We engineer a unique Janus bilayer architecture with superior chemical and mechanical properties that enables the efficient transformation of surface energy into directional kinetic and elastic energies. This Janus bilayer can respond to pinpoint water stimuli by a rapid, several-centimeters-long self-assembly that is reminiscent of the Mimosa pudica’s leaflet folding. The Janus bilayers also shuttle water at flow rates up to two orders of magnitude higher than traditional wicking-based devices, reaching velocities of 8 cm/s and flow rates of 4.7 μl/s. This self-organization regime enables the ease of fabricating curved, bent, and split flexible channels with lengths greater than 10 cm, demonstrating immense potential for microfluidics, biosensors, and water purification applications.

Keywords
  • Dynamic self-assembly
  • biomimetic mimosa-inspired origami
  • Janus nanofibrous films
  • stimuli-responsive films
  • self-propelling micro-fluidics

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