Air Force

Optically fixable shape memory polymers

  • US Patent No. 9475912
  • Issued: October 25, 2016
  • Status: Active

This application discloses a method of photomechanically manipulating optically fixable SMPs that employ glassy, photoresponsive polymeric materials, which are capable of rapid optical-fixing with short exposures (<<5 min) of eye-safe visible light. Key to the optical fixing is the use of polymeric materials composed of covalently attached photochromic units such as azobenzene and the use of light capable of inducing simultaneous trans-cis and cis-trans isomerization of azobenzene or other photochromic moieties capable of similar cycling. Upon exposure to light in this wavelength regime (440-514 nm for the azobenzene unit here), real and lasting reconfigurations are induced capable of fixing both the optically induced strain as well as mechanically induced strain. A linear dependence of bending angle on polarization angle is observed and may be used to control the shape reconfiguration of the SMPs.

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