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Light-fuelled freestyle self-oscillators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number5057
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Self-oscillation is a phenomenon where an object sustains periodic motion upon non-periodic stimulus. It occurs commonly in nature, a few examples being heartbeat, sea waves and fluttering of leaves. Stimuli-responsive materials allow creating synthetic self-oscillators fuelled by different forms of energy, e.g. heat, light and chemicals, showing great potential for applications in power generation, autonomous mass transport, and self-propelled micro-robotics. However, most of the self-oscillators are based on bending deformation, thereby limiting their possibilities of being implemented in practical applications. Here, we report light-fuelled self-oscillators based on liquid crystal network actuators that can exhibit three basic oscillation modes: bending, twisting and contraction-expansion. We show that a time delay in material response dictates the self-oscillation dynamics, and realize a freestyle self-oscillator that combines numerous oscillation modes simultaneously by adjusting the excitation beam position. The results provide new insights into understanding of self-oscillation phenomenon and offer new designs for future self-propelling micro-robots.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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