The movements of graphene based paper are triggered by light or heat.
Chinese researchers have created a tiny sheet of graphene that can walk, twirl and folds on its own. All the movements of graphene paper are triggered by either laser light or heat.
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This Origami-based graphene paper can crawl like a worm, transform into a tiny box and can convert into a graphene hand to grab an object.
The details of the invention from researchers at Donghua University, Shanghai were published in the latest issue of the Journal Science Advances.
“The bending behavior of this paper is programmable so that we can use it to make this devise walk and turn – and fold into designed shapes – simply remote controlled by gentle light or heat.” Hongazi Wang, a material scientist and engineer at Donghua University said.
Wang and his colleagues choose graphene for making this device simply because graphene is stronger and versatile compared to regular polymer materials.
Two types of graphene are combined to create this self-folding device, one is graphene oxide (rGO) that does not interact with water and the other graphene oxide-polydopamine (GO-PDA) that can absorb water depending on the humidity, light and temperature of the environment.
When the two materials incorporated into each other, they react to laser light or heat. The GO-PDA layer remains flat initially but when light or heat is applied GO-PDA layer starts shrinking and forces rGO layer to bend. The simple mechanism enables device to be remote controlled by light or heat.
“We thought it would be more interesting that an origami device not only folds itself, but also can move on its own, like an origami crane can fly or an origami dragon can walk. This would be an embryo of a novel kind of robot, in our opinion.” Wang said.
All it takes just a fraction of second to transform into various shapes. Researchers think that this self-holding material holds potential for a wide range of applications such as sensing, artificial muscles and robotics and more efficient self-folding devices can be made in future.
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