Octopus Chromatophores

This octopus has color-changing cells, called chromatophores, in its skin, a phenomenon that influenced Rutgers engineers. Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011

3D-Printed Smart Gel Modifications Forming When Exposed to Light

Inspired by the color-changing skin of cuttlefish, octopuses and squids, Rutgers engineers have developed a 3D-printed clever gel that changes shape when exposed to light, ends up being “artificial muscle” and may lead to brand-new military camouflage, soft robotics, and flexible displays.

The engineers likewise established a 3D-printed elastic material that can expose colors when light changes, according to their research study in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Their creation is modeled after the remarkable ability of cephalopods such as cuttlefish, octopuses, and squids to alter the color and texture of their soft skin for camouflage and interaction. This is accomplished by the thousands of color-changing cells, called chromatophores, in their skin.

” Electronic screens are everywhere and regardless of amazing advances, such as ending up being thinner, bigger and brighter, they’re based on rigid products, limiting the shapes they can take and how they user interface with 3D surface areas,” stated senior author Howon Lee, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University– New Brunswick. “Our research supports a new engineering method featuring camouflage that can be added to soft materials and produce flexible, colorful displays.”

Rutgers engineers developed a 3D hydrogel, or clever gel, that senses light and modifications shape as an outcome. Hydrogels, which keep their shape and remain solid regardless of including water, are discovered in the human body, Jell-O, diapers and contact lenses, among lots of examples.

The engineers included a light-sensing nanomaterial in the hydrogel, turning it into an “synthetic muscle” that agreements in action to modifications in light. The light-sensing wise gel, integrated with the 3D-printed elastic material, changes color, leading to a camouflage effect.

Next steps consist of improving the technology’s sensitivity, action time, scalability, packaging, and toughness.

Reference: “Multimaterial Printing for Cephalopod-Inspired Light-Responsive Artificial Chromatophores” by Daehoon Han, Yueping Wang, Chen Yang and Howon Lee, 3 January 2021, ACS Applied Products & Interfaces
DOI: 10.1021/ acsami.0 c17623

The lead authors are Daehoon Han, who made a doctorate at Rutgers and is now a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, and Yueping Wang, a Rutgers doctoral trainee. Rutgers doctoral student Chen Yang likewise added to the study. This work was supported by a Rutgers University Research Council Grant and the National Science Structure.

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