News

From Light to Motion: Shaping surfaces with light

A quantitative study that leads to a more precise control of the photoactive surface
Schematic of azopolymer/PDMS double layer. Image by Yujiao Dong, Aalto University
Schematic of azopolymer/PDMS double layer. Image: Yujiao Dong / Aalto University

Researchers from the Multifunctional Materials Design group at Aalto University explored the use of photoactive materials to control surface topographies, specifically in generating photo-responsive wrinkle patterns. Azobenzene and its derivatives are employed to trigger photoisomerization reactions upon illumination, resulting in the conversion of electromagnetic energy into mechanical energy. In fact, supramolecular design is utilized to build polymer-azo complexes, allowing for easy tuning of the rate of pattern evolution at constant illumination intensity. 

The study characterizes dynamic photoinduced wrinkle erasure enabled by photomechanical changes in supramolecular polymer-azo complexes via confocal microscopy. Furthermore, a MATLAB algorithm was developed to thoroughly analyze the video that captures the wrinkle erasure process. As a result, a combination of confocal microscopy and the mentioned MATLAB analysis enables a quantitative comparison of wrinkling erasure efficiency of different supramolecular materials and provides a facile way to optimize the system for specific applications. 

This work provides insight into the conversion of molecular-level motion into larger scales and broadens other opportunities for tissue engineering and biological applications. 

The findings were published in ChemPhysChem, Volume 24, Issue 13 (Yujiao Dong, Dr. Pedro E. S. Silva, Prof. Dr. Jaakko V. I. Timonen, Prof. Dr. Jaana Vapaavuori).

The news article was prepared by Bach Nguyen (MMD / Aalto University).

Related content:

Multifunctional Materials Design

Group led by Professor Jaana Vapaavuori

MMD webpage main image. GIF image by Aalto University, Giulnara Launonen

SUPER-WEAR project

Super-stretchable functionalized materials and fibers for third generation wearable technology

SUPER-WEAR webpage, main image. Photo by Aalto University, Maija Vaara, Mithila Mohan

ModelCom project

Autonomously adapting and communicating modular textiles

ModelCom webpage, main image, nylon yarn helix. Photo by Aalto University, Maija Vaara
  • Published:
  • Updated:

Read more news

Dr. Swarnalok De and logos of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Aalto University and MMD group
Research & Art Published:

Dr. Swarnalok De receives a one-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

Awarded for research on the development of wearable healthcare sensors for autonomous health monitoring of the aging population
Unite! White paper - a new university open science and innovation governance model and policy for a sustainable world
Cooperation, University Published:

Unite!’s pathway for the management of open science and innovation in the European Universities Alliances

Unite! presents a new university open science and innovation governance model and five policy recommendations.
The magnetic properties of a material can affect how it interacts with light.
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

A new optical metamaterial makes true one-way glass possible

Researchers have discovered how to make a new optical metamaterial that would underpin a variety of new technologies.
Mikko Alava ja kolme muuta tutkimusryhmän jäsentä kuvattuna teknisen laitteen äärellä.
Research & Art Published:

Significant grants for science from the Finnish Cultural Foundation

A total of thirty individuals and research groups from Aalto University received grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation for science and art. Professors Harri Lipsanen and Zhipei Sun and their team, were awarded a large grant to develop electronic components mimicking the structure and function of the human brain. Among the grantees is also Professor Mikko Alava, whose team is developing water-resistant foams as substitutes for plastic using AI-based methods.