The integration of untethered, multi-stimuli responsive actuation into soft microrobotic devices is a goal in the development of “smart” materials. This manuscript reports on a dual-stimuli responsive bilayer actuator consisting of a light responsive liquid crystal network (LCN) and a magnetic responsive polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) composite. This design is of facile fabrication with ample design freedom, using no additional adhesion layers. Untethered control of the bilayer permits motions including bending and rotation, steered individually or in synchronization. Through a systematic study the direct impact of the PDMS layer was elucidated on the light triggered rate of actuation and maximum deformation amplitude of the LCN film. The alignment (homeotropic or planar) of the LCN has a profound effect on the resulting bilayer actuation. It is demonstrated, both experimentally and theoretically, that the rates of sample heating and actuation are directly correlated and highlight the critical role of the PDMS as a heat sink. The maximum amplitude of displacement of the bilayer is tied to the stiffness, being inversely correlated to the PDMS thickness to the third power. These results give insights and provide straightforward design rules to fabricate bilayer actuators with programmed multi-responsive properties.
- magnetic response
- stimuli-responsive materials