Engineers create light-activated 'curtains' (w/ Video)

Jan 10, 2014 by Sarah Yang

(Phys.org) —Forget remote-controlled curtains. A new development by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could lead to curtains and other materials that move in response to light, no batteries needed.

A research team led by Ali Javey, associate professor of and computer sciences, layered carbon nanotubes – atom-thick rolls of carbon – onto a plastic polycarbonate membrane to create a material that moves quickly in response to . Within fractions of a second, the nanotubes absorb light, convert it into heat and transfer the heat to the polycarbonate membrane's surface. The plastic expands in response to the heat, while the nanotube layer does not, causing the two-layered material to bend.

"The advantages of this new class of photo-reactive actuator is that it is very easy to make, and it is very sensitive to low-intensity light," said Javey, who is also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. "The light from a flashlight is enough to generate a response."

The researchers described their experiments in a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications. They were able to tweak the size and chirality – referring to the left or right direction of twist – of the nanotubes to make the material react to different wavelengths of light. The swaths of material they created, dubbed "smart curtains," could bend or straighten in response to the flick of a light switch.

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"We envision these in future smart, energy-efficient buildings," said Javey. "Curtains made of this material could automatically open or close during the day."

Other potential applications include light-driven motors and robotics that move toward or away from light, the researchers said.

Explore further: Researchers use oxides to flip graphene conductivity

More information: "Photoactuators and motors based on carbon nanotubes with selective chirality distributions." Xiaobo Zhang, Zhibin Yu, Chuan Wang, David Zarrouk, Jung-Woo Ted Seo, Jim C. Cheng, Austin D. Buchan, Kuniharu Takei, Yang Zhao, Joel W. Ager, Junjun Zhang, Mark Hettick, Mark C. Hersam, Albert P. Pisano, Ronald S. Fearing, Ali Javey. Nature Communications 5, Article number: 2983 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3983

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User comments : 4

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vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2014
Light activates dynamic matter. Bend the light-Flow-fields is a reality.
See image above. Asimilar mode of Image is introduced to Milkyway for change and orientation of Magnetic fields at the Milkyway and beyond. see projections in my books-2010
Search cosmologucal links-1. NANDI introduces new concepts for flow-fields integration-author Vidyardhi Nanduri
2. Super-imposition of Visible -Invisile matrix mode over space based observations-author vidyardhi Nanduri
COSPAR-2013 Conference- Thailand.
http://www.cospar...a.or.th/
GSwift7
not rated yet Jan 10, 2014
hmm, self-deploying sun shades, solar sails, or solar panels on space hardware? The materials described should be light weight.
Morelli
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2014
Here we see the marvellous ways that Nature works, and it is a confirmation of "The Universal Matrix for Natural Systems and Life's Cycles Theory". Life has choose left-handed molecules instead right-handed because the Matrix code carried by any natural light wave shows a face like ours, shared into left and right sides. The left side is when energy and informations are increasing, expanding, while the right face is when entropy attacks the system and energy decreases, contracts. So, the right side has the force for degeneration and death of a system. If life had accepted the two aspects of the Matrix, evolution never could advance from the first molecules for building proteins, because could not have enough time and catalysts. Nature is wise and wonderful!
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jan 22, 2014
Here we see the marvellous ways that Nature works, and it is a confirmation of "The Universal Matrix for Natural Systems and Life's Cycles Theory". Life has choose left-handed molecules instead right-handed because the Matrix code carried by any natural light wave shows a face like ours, shared into left and right sides. The left side is when energy and informations are increasing, expanding, while the right face is when entropy attacks the system and energy decreases, contracts. So, the right side has the force for degeneration and death of a system. If life had accepted the two aspects of the Matrix, evolution never could advance from the first molecules for building proteins, because could not have enough time and catalysts. Nature is wise and wonderful!

Is that the Matrix's left or mine?

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