A controllable oil-triggered actuator with aligned microchannel design for implementing precise deformation†
Soft actuators with the integration of facile preparation, rapid actuation rate, sophisticated motions, and precise control over deformation for application in complex devices are still highly desirable. Inspired by the aligned structures of moisture responsive pineal scales, an oil-triggered Janus actuator composed of a smooth hydrophobic surface and a superhydrophobic surface with aligned microchannels by simple laser etching was fabricated successfully, which can deform into various desirable shapes and recover to the original shape when triggered by oil and ethanol molecules. The aligned microchannel design causes different oil spread distances in the longitudinal and transverse directions, resulting in orientation-controlled bending and twisting with large-scale displacement. By changing the orientations of the patterned microchannels, one-dimensional folding deformation, twisting, rolling curling and object-inspired architectures can be facilely programmed. The reversible oil-triggered actuator will inspire more attractive applications such as in vivo surgery, biomimetic devices, energy harvesting systems and soft robotics.