Light-triggered autonomous shape-reconfigurable and locomotive rechargeable power sources


Soft electronics have garnered considerable attention as a promising alternative to conventional electronics with fixed shapes and sizes because of their facile and intimate shape-adaptability to complex operating environments. Their practical applications, however, have been plagued by limited maneuverability, which predominantly stemmed from tethered electrical cords or rigid/bulky power sources. Here, we present light-triggered autonomous shape-reconfigurable and locomotive rechargeable power sources (SL-PSs), in which quasi-solid-state supercapacitors (SCs) are monolithically integrated with thermoresponsive liquid crystalline polymer networks (LCNs) substrates using a device-customized printing process. The SCs are designed to enable photothermal effect as well as adjustable capacitive storage. The LCNs are synthesized to provide thermomechanical deformation by programmable anisotropic molecular contract/expansion. Upon exposure to light or heat, the SL-PSs exhibit autonomous and reversible shape-morphing within a few seconds without impairing their electrochemical performance. Moreover, the SL-PSs convey a model cargo through photothermal stimuli-induced wire-crawling and simultaneously transfer their on-board stored electrical energy, demonstrating their potential viability as an untethered soft robotic power source.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2022.04.003