Light-activated shape morphing and light-tracking materials using biopolymer-based programmable photonic nanostructures

Yu Wang, Meng Li, Jan Kai Chang, Daniele Aurelio, Wenyi Li, Beom Joon Kim, Jae Hwan Kim, Marco Liscidini, John A. Rogers, Fiorenzo G. Omenetto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Natural systems display sophisticated control of light-matter interactions at multiple length scales for light harvesting, manipulation, and management, through elaborate photonic architectures and responsive material formats. Here, we combine programmable photonic function with elastomeric material composites to generate optomechanical actuators that display controllable and tunable actuation as well as complex deformation in response to simple light illumination. The ability to topographically control photonic bandgaps allows programmable actuation of the elastomeric substrate in response to illumination. Complex three-dimensional configurations, programmable motion patterns, and phototropic movement where the material moves in response to the motion of a light source are presented. A “photonic sunflower” demonstrator device consisting of a light-tracking solar cell is also illustrated to demonstrate the utility of the material composite. The strategy presented here provides new opportunities for the future development of intelligent optomechanical systems that move with light on demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1651
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Light-activated shape morphing and light-tracking materials using biopolymer-based programmable photonic nanostructures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this