Design and Testing of Bistable Lattices with Tensegrity Architecture and Nanoscale Features Fabricated by Multiphoton Lithography

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2020 Mar 31;10(4):652. doi: 10.3390/nano10040652.


A bistable response is an innate feature of tensegrity metamaterials, which is a conundrum to attain in other metamaterials, since it ushers unconventional static and dynamical mechanical behaviors. This paper investigates the design, modeling, fabrication and testing of bistable lattices with tensegrity architecture and nanoscale features. First, a method to design bistable lattices tessellating tensegrity units is formulated. The additive manufacturing of these structures is performed through multiphoton lithography, which enables the fabrication of microscale structures with nanoscale features and extremely high resolution. Different modular lattices, comprised of struts with 250 nm minimum radius, are tested under loading-unloading uniaxial compression nanoindentation tests. The compression tests confirmed the activation of the designed bistable twisting mechanism in the examined lattices, combined with a moderate viscoelastic response. The force-displacement plots of the 3D assemblies of bistable tensegrity prisms reveal a softening behavior during the loading from the primary stable configuration and a subsequent snapping event that drives the structure into a secondary stable configuration. The twisting mechanism that characterizes such a transition is preserved after unloading and during repeated loading-unloading cycles. The results of the present study elucidate that fabrication of multistable tensegrity lattices is highly feasible via multiphoton lithography and promulgates the fabrication of multi-cell tensegrity metamaterials with unprecedented static and dynamic responses.

Keywords: bistability; direct laser writing; lattice metamaterials; multiphoton lithography; multistability; tensegrity architecture.