Liquid Crystal Elastomer Waveguide Actuators

Alexa S. Kuenstler, Hyunki Kim, Ryan C. Hayward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While most photomechanical materials developed to date have relied on free-space illumination to drive actuation, this strategy fails when direct line-of-site access is precluded. In this study, waveguided light is harnessed by liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) nanocomposites to drive actuation. Using photo-chemical reduction of gold salts to plasmonic nanoparticles, prescription of photoresponsive regions within fibers of mono-domain LCEs is demonstrated with control over both the location along the fiber axis, as well as in the azimuthal direction. Due to localized photothermal heating provided by plasmonic absorption of waveguided light and resulting inhomogeneous thermally induced deformation of the LCE, reversible bending along multiple axes is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1901216
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 13 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • actuators
  • liquid crystal elastomers
  • photoresponsive materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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