Traveling Wave Rotary Micromotor Based on a Photomechanical Response in Liquid Crystal Polymer Networks

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2020 Feb 19;12(7):8681-8686. doi: 10.1021/acsami.9b20309. Epub 2020 Feb 7.


The photomechanical response of liquid crystal polymer networks (LCNs) can be used to directly convert light energy into different forms of mechanical energy. In this study, we demonstrate how a traveling deformation, induced in a liquid crystal polymer ring by a spatially modulated laser beam, can be used to drive the ring (the rotor) to rotate around a stationary element (the stator), thus forming a light-powered micromotor. The photomechanical response of the polymer film is modeled numerically, different LCN molecular configurations are studied, and the performance of a 5.5 mm diameter motor is characterized.

Keywords: light-powered mechanics; liquid crystal polymer networks; micromotor; photomechanic actuation; traveling wave motor.