Abstract Deformations triggered by body heat are desirable in the context of shape-morphing applications because, under the majority of circumstances, the human body maintains a higher temperature than that of its surroundings. However, at present, this bioenergy-triggered action is primarily limited to soft polymeric networks. Thus, herein, the programming of body temperature-triggered deformations into rigid azobenzene-containing liquid crystalline polymers (azo-LCPs) with a glass-transition temperature of 100 °C is demonstrated. To achieve this, a mechano-assisted photo-programming strategy is used to create a metastable state with room-temperature stable residual stress, which is induced by the isomerization of azobenzene. The programmed rigid azo-LCP can undergo large-amplitude body temperature-triggered shape changes within minutes and can be regenerated without any performance degradation. By changing the programming photomasks and irradiation conditions employed, various 2D to 3D shape-morphing architectures, including folded clips, inch-worm structures, spiral structures, and snap-through motions are achieved. When programmed with polarized light, the proposed strategy results in domain-selective activation, generating designed characteristics in multi-domain azo-LCPs. The reported strategy is therefore expected to broaden the applications of azo-LCPs in the fields of biomedical and flexible microelectronic devices.
- body temperature responsive
- light programmed actuators
- light-induced thermo-mechanical change
- liquid crystalline polymers
- thermal deformation