Field responsive materials: photo-, electro-, magnetic- and ultrasound-sensitive polymers
Stimuli responsive materials have attracted a great deal of attention during the last few decades and are expected to lead to great advances in the areas of nano- and bio-technology. Chemical and biochemical stimuli that allow one to control the material properties and functions have been extensively investigated; however, recently physical stimuli have been of much interest because they can be applied remotely, they often allow spatiotemporal control and, depending on the required intensity, they can be biocompatible. Progress in this rapidly expanding field may result in advancements in dynamically controlled systems for use, among others, in drug delivery and tissue engineering, artificial muscles and robotics, (bio)sensors and actuators, space and ocean applications and self-healing materials. In this review we highlight recent progress in the emerging field of photo-, electro-, magnetic- and ultrasound-sensitive polymers. Novel synthetic routes to these polymers as well as their responsive properties and functions are presented. Future perspectives and challenges in the field towards the development of more complex systems are also discussed.