Polymer Actuators for Light- and Thermally Activated Motion and Complex Shape-Morphing
Yue Zhao received his BSc in 1982 from Chengdu University of Science and Technology (now Sichuan University). He went to France in 1983 for his graduate studies at the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de Paris (ESPCI). After obtaining his PhD in 1987, he went to Canada for postdoctoral studies at the Université Laval. In 1991, he joined the Chemistry Department of the Université de Sherbrooke and has been a full professor since 2000. Zhao’s main research interests are the design, synthesis, study and exploitation for applications of self-assembled, nanostructured and stimuliresponsive polymers and liquid crystalline materials. He has published 200 papers in primary journals including Adv. Mater., J. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Chem. Soc. Rev and edited a book on azobenzene-containing polymers and liquid crystals. His pioneering work on photocontrollable polymer micelles earned him the inaugural Public Prize for the Discovery 2005 in Quebec. He was awarded the Changjiang Scholar Chair Professorship by the Ministry of Education of China in 2007, the Macromolecular Science and Engineering Award of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) in 2013, and elected CIC Fellow in 2014.
I will report our recent research on optical and thermal polymer actuators. We studied both liquid crystal polymers (LCPs) and semicrystalline polymers (SCPs), including a reprocessable LCP bearing azobenzene moieties and a commodity SCP either with or without gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) loaded. The challenging issues such as how to generate complex, programmable shape change and how to achieve autonomous, self-sustained actuation under a “constant” stimulation through a feedback loop will also be addressed.