Université de Strasbourg

Soft robotics

Metallopolymer-elastomer hybrids for light-driven soft robotics

USIAS Fellows: Matteo Mauro et Stéphane Bellemin-Laponnaz
Post-doc: Etienne Borré

Soft robotics is currently an emerging research field, due to the great potential application in surgery devices, mimicking skeleton-free organisms, artificial muscles, electro- and photo-active actuators, just to cite some examples. By means of actuators, one of the main advantages of “soft” compared to the “hard” robotics is that the former are much easier to adapt and are better at performing difficult movements or handling delicate objects. In order to achieve for example real-use artificial muscles, soft and highly anisotropically ordered materials are of fundamental importance.

One of the most powerful ways to achieve highly ordered systems is by means of supramolecular self-assembly. The main driving force in creating supramolecular structures consists of the ability of smaller and discrete entities to spontaneously arrange into more organized systems by means of information coded in their structures. Contrary to their noncovalent counterparts, systems based on covalent interactions can be reversible, can create highly ordered structure and can be sensitive to external stimuli, which in some cases can result into materials with fascinating adaptive properties.

The project aims to develop supramolecular functional materials in which the directional mechanical response, as consequence of anisotropic external stimuli and/or anisotropic internal organization, could produce much larger deformation and precise control of motion, thus yielding much more interesting properties, such as controllable 3D motion.
The concept that the project intends to develop would have fundamental impacts on the preparation of fast-response, light-driven, remote-controllable as well as wavelength and polarization selective, supramolecular actuators with important innovative potential applications in biomedicine, robotics, molecular electronic memory devices and photonics.


France 2030