Kirigami-Inspired Self-Assembly of 3D Structures

Arif M. Abdullah, Xiuling Li, Paul V. Braun, John A Rogers, K Jimmy Hsia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-assembly of 3D structures presents an attractive and scalable route to realize reconfigurable and functionally capable mesoscale devices without human intervention. A common approach for achieving this is to utilize stimuli-responsive folding of hinged structures, which requires the integration of different materials and/or geometric arrangements along the hinges. It is demonstrated that the inclusion of Kirigami cuts in planar, hingeless bilayer thin sheets can be used to produce complex 3D shapes in an on-demand manner. Nonlinear finite element models are developed to elucidate the mechanics of shape morphing in bilayer thin sheets and verify the predictions through swelling experiments of planar, millimeter-scaled PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) bilayers in organic solvents. Building upon the mechanistic understandings, The transformation of Kirigami-cut simple bilayers into 3D shapes such as letters from the Roman alphabet (to make “ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS”) and open/closed polyhedral architectures is experimentally demonstrated. A possible application of the bilayers as tether-less optical metamaterials with dynamically tunable light transmission and reflection behaviors is also shown. As the proposed mechanistic design principles could be applied to a variety of materials, this research broadly contributes toward the development of smart, tetherless, and reconfigurable multifunctional systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1909888
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • metamaterials
  • self-assembly
  • stimuli responsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrochemistry
  • Biomaterials


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