4D printed actuators with soft-robotic functions

M. López-Valdeolivas, D. Liu, D.J. Broer, C. Sánchez-Somolinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

273 Citations (Scopus)
313 Downloads (Pure)


Soft matter elements undergoing programed, reversible shape change can contribute to fundamental advance in areas such as optics, medicine, microfluidics, and robotics. Crosslinked liquid crystalline polymers have demonstrated huge potential to implement soft responsive elements; however, the complexity and size of the actuators are limited by the current dominant thin-film geometry processing toolbox. Using 3D printing, stimuli-responsive liquid crystalline elastomeric structures are created here. The printing process prescribes a reversible shape-morphing behavior, offering a new paradigm for active polymer system preparation. The additive character of this technology also leads to unprecedented geometries, complex functions, and sizes beyond those of typical thin-films. The fundamental concepts and devices presented therefore overcome the current limitations of actuation energy available from thin-films, thereby narrowing the gap between materials and practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700710
Number of pages7
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • 3D printing
  • Actuators
  • Adaptive optics
  • Liquid crystalline polymers
  • Soft robotics
  • Temperature
  • Molecular Structure
  • Elastomers/chemistry
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional/instrumentation
  • Robotics/instrumentation
  • Polymers/chemistry
  • adaptive optics
  • actuators
  • liquid crystalline polymers
  • soft robotics


Dive into the research topics of '4D printed actuators with soft-robotic functions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this