Dual light and temperature responsive micrometer-sized structural color actuators

Alberto Belmonte, Yera Ye Ussembayev, Tom Bus, Inge Nys, Kristiaan Neyts, Albertus P.H.J. Schenning (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Externally induced color- and shape-changes in micrometer-sized objects are of great interest in novel application fields such as optofluidics and microrobotics. In this work, light and temperature responsive micrometer-sized structural color actuators based on cholesteric liquid-crystalline (CLC) polymer particles are presented. The particles are synthesized by suspension polymerization using a reactive CLC monomer mixture having a light responsive azobenzene dye. The particles exhibit anisotropic spot-like and arc-like reflective colored domains ranging from red to blue. Electron microscopy reveals a multidirectional asymmetric arrangement of the cholesteric layers in the particles and numerical simulations elucidate the anisotropic optical properties. Upon light exposure, the particles show reversible asymmetric shape deformations combined with structural color changes. When the temperature is increased above the liquid crystal-isotropic phase transition temperature of the particles, the deformation is followed by a reduction or disappearance of the reflection. Such dual light and temperature responsive structural color actuators are interesting for a variety of micrometer-sized devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1905219
JournalSmall : Nano Micro
Issue number1
Early online date3 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020


  • azobenzene
  • cholesteric liquid crystals
  • light responsive microactuators
  • photonic polymer particles
  • structural colors


Dive into the research topics of 'Dual light and temperature responsive micrometer-sized structural color actuators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this