Programmable responsive hydrogels inspired by classical conditioning algorithm
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2019|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Living systems have inspired research on non-biological dynamic materials and systems chemistry to mimic specific complex biological functions. Upon pursuing ever more complex life-inspired non-biological systems, mimicking even the most elementary aspects of learning is a grand challenge. We demonstrate a programmable hydrogel-based model system, whose behaviour is inspired by associative learning, i.e., conditioning, which is among the simplest forms of learning. Algorithmically, associative learning minimally requires responsivity to two different stimuli and a memory element. Herein, nanoparticles form the memory element, where a photoacid-driven pH-change leads to their chain-like assembly with a modified spectral behaviour. On associating selected light irradiation with heating, the gel starts to melt upon the irradiation, originally a neutral stimulus. A logic diagram describes such an evolution of the material response. Coupled chemical reactions drive the system out-of-equilibrium, allowing forgetting and memory recovery. The findings encourage to search non-biological materials towards associative and dynamic properties.