Protruding organic surfaces triggered by in-plane electric fields

D. Liu, N.B. Tito, D.J. Broer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


Coatings with a dynamic surface topography are of interest for applications in haptics, soft robotics, cell growth in biology, hydro- and air dynamics and tribology. Here we propose a design for creating oscillating surface topographies in thin liquid crystal polymer network coatings under an electric field. By applying an alternating electric field, the coating surface deforms, and pre-designed local corrugations appear. The continuous AC electric field further initiates oscillations superimposed on the formed topographies. This effect is based on microscopic free volume creation. By exciting the liquid crystal network at its resonance frequency, maximum free volume is generated and large surface topographies are formed. Molecular simulation is used to examine this behaviour in microscopic detail as a function of oscillation frequency. Surface topography formation is fast and reversible. Excess free volume is energetically unfavourable, thus the surface topographies disappear within seconds once the electric field is removed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1526
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Protruding organic surfaces triggered by in-plane electric fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this