Advanced Materials, Vol.28, No.47, 10548-10556, 2016
Photoactuators for Direct Optical-to-Mechanical Energy Conversion: From Nanocomponent Assembly to Macroscopic Deformation
Photoactuators with integrated optical-to-mechanical energy conversion capacity have attracted growing research interest in the last few decades due to their unique features of remote control and their wide applications ranging from bionic robots, biomedical devices, and switches to motors. For the photoactuator design, the energy conversion route and structure assembly are two important parts, which directly affect the performance of the photoactuators. In particular, the architectural designs at the molecular, nano-, micro-, and macro-level, are found to play a significant role in accumulating molecular-scale strain/stress to macroscale strain/stress. Here, recent progress on photoactuators based on photochemical and photothermal effects is summarized, followed by a discussion of the important assembly strategies for the amplification of the photoresponsive components at nanoscale to macroscopic scale motions. The application advancement of current photoactuators is also presented.