Switching microobjects from low to high aspect ratios using a shape-memory effect


Spherical particles from shape-memory polymers (SMP) can be stretched to ellipsoids with high aspect ratio (AR) and temporarily stabilized. They can switch back to low AR upon thermal stimulation. Here, the creation of an alternative shape-switching capability of particles from low to high AR is introduced, where a SMP matrix from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is used to create crosslinked high AR particles and to program the embedded micrometer-sized particles from a second SMP (oligo(ε-caprolactone) micronetworks, MN) with a low switching temperature Tsw. This programming proceeds through shape-recovery of the PVA matrix, from which the MN are harvested by PVA matrix dissolution. The use of a dissolvable SMP matrix may be a general strategy to efficiently create systems with complex moving capabilities.
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