Hydrogel Crawls Like an Earthworm

  • Author: Angewandte Chemie International Edition
  • Published Date: 03 January 2019
  • Source / Publisher: Angewandte Chemie International Edition/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
thumbnail image: Hydrogel Crawls Like an Earthworm

Earthworms move in narrow spaces by the expansion and contraction of their body segments. This mechanism of movement, so-called peristaltic crawling, is the inspiration for soft robots, e.g., in locomotive endoscopes used for next-generation diagnosis and therapies. Water-rich hydrogels have some resemblance to biotissues and are, thus, a promising material with which to construct such soft robots.

Takuzo Aida, University of Tokyo and RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, Wako, Saitama, both Japan, Yasuhiro Ishida, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, and colleagues have developed an unprecedented type of photoresponsive hydrogel actuator. The hydrogel contains gold nanoparticles that convert photon energy into heat, a thermoresponsive polymer composed of N-isopropylacrylamide monomers and N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide crosslinkers that switches the electrical permittivity of the gel's interior, and charged titanate nanosheets that change the electrostatic repulsion of the hydrogel simultaneously.

When irradiated with light, the hydrogel expands within half a second and lengthens by 180 %. The cylinder crawls like an earthworm when it is irradiated along its long axis with a 445 nm laser spotlight. The researchers believe that this technology could make soft robotics a reality in the future.


Article Views: 2132

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH