Mechanically active materials in three-dimensional mesostructures

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Science Advances  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 9, eaat8313
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat8313


Complex, three-dimensional (3D) mesostructures that incorporate advanced, mechanically active materials are of broad, growing interest for their potential use in many emerging systems. The technology implications range from precision-sensing microelectromechanical systems, to tissue scaffolds that exploit the principles of mechanobiology, to mechanical energy harvesters that support broad bandwidth operation. The work presented here introduces strategies in guided assembly and heterogeneous materials integration as routes to complex, 3D microscale mechanical frameworks that incorporate multiple, independently addressable piezoelectric thin-film actuators for vibratory excitation and precise control. The approach combines transfer printing as a scheme for materials integration with structural buckling as a means for 2D-to-3D geometric transformation, for designs that range from simple, symmetric layouts to complex, hierarchical configurations, on planar or curvilinear surfaces. Systematic experimental and computational studies reveal the underlying characteristics and capabilities, including selective excitation of targeted vibrational modes for simultaneous measurements of viscosity and density of surrounding fluids. The results serve as the foundations for unusual classes of mechanically active 3D mesostructures with unique functions relevant to biosensing, mechanobiology, energy harvesting, and others.

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