Light switchable surface topographies: Modelling and design of photo responsive topographical changes of liquid crystal polymer films

Ling Liu


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Recent developments in the field of materials science herald a new era of material design, synthesis, application and optimization. Especially the pronounced progress made in the field of responsive materials enable the fabrication of smart devices that facilitate exiting new applications. Using a wide range of external stimuli, responsive materials have been constructed that feature directed motility, like walking or swimming robots, or have surface texture switching beyond the resolution of the human eye, to achieve specific surface properties like the lotus effect, enabling self-cleaning surfaces.

In this PhD project, a special type of material system is investigated: liquid crystal polymers. This kind of polymer enables diverse external controls such as temperature, electric fields, magnetic fields, humidity, pH and light. In this thesis a computational framework is developed to model the light-switchable topographical transformations of thin coatings made of photo-sensitive liquid crystal polymers. The surfaces of the coatings can be actuated by the illumination of ultra-violet light, which is exploited to produce various and versatile surface deformations. The switched-on surfaces may have rough textures like sandpaper or wavy undulations mimicking human fingerprints. Moreover, dynamic control enables textures in motion: temporally and spatially deforming surfaces that resemble propagating waves.

The computational results from this thesis not only advance our fundamental understanding of this class of light-responsive polymeric materials, it also equips theoreticians and experimentalists with guidelines to further optimize existing materials and to design new materials for application in the field of human-machine interaction, wetting control and soft robotics.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Onck, Patrick, Supervisor
  • van der Giessen, Erik, Supervisor
Datum van toekenning10-sep.-2018
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-034-0739-5
Elektronische ISBN's978-94-034-0738-8
StatusPublished - 2018

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