Resea R ch h ighlights Nature Reviews Materials | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-018-0021-z | Published online 15 May 2018 SOFT ROBOTIC S Cephalopods, such as squids and The electroactive layer of the silicon dioxide formed the octopuses, change the colour and devices is a dielectric elastomer coating. Both types of devices are pattern of their skin to communicate membrane. Polymeric proton- fully reversible, stable over many We are now between themselves and to hide from conducting electrodes are placed cycles and give reproducible pursuing both predators. This colour-c hanging above and below this layer, and then results. Moreover, the autonomous ability is enabled by their complex the surface of the top electrode is aluminium-coated devices can thermo skin, which contains pigmented cells modified with an infrared-r eflecting operate autonomously when as well as cells that reflect light. coating. Initially, the devices are connected to a temperature sensor. regulatory Now, writing in Science, Alon mechanically contracted to release The researchers demonstrate technologies Gorodetsky and colleagues report tension in the different components, the functionality of their and adaptive an adaptive system that reflects which causes micrometre-s cale infrared-reflecting broadband camouflage infrared light, and hence also heat, in wrinkling of the infrared-r eflecting system by placing a squid- a similar way to how the squid’s skin coating. Upon the application shaped device on a warm surface systems that reflects visible light. The active layer of an external stimulus — either (~35 °C) and imaging it with an function in the in their centimetre-s cale devices is mechanical strain or an electrical infrared camera. In the absence visible either mechanically or electrically field — the infrared-r eflecting of actuation, the squid-s haped actuated, resulting in a change from coating goes from wrinkled to device is indistinguishable from a wrinkled to a smooth surface, smooth, changing the way the the background when visualized which is accompanied by a change devices reflect infrared light. with the infrared camera. On in the reflectance of infrared light. The researchers developed two application of an electrical stimulus “We were inspired by both science types of reflective devices — for to the device, the device’s active area fiction and science fact, in particular, broadband and narrowband expands and the silhouette of the seeing fictional dinosaurs disappear infrared reflecting applications. squid can be seen by the infrared and reappear when visualized with For broadband devices, a thin film camera. Although the actual an infrared camera in Jurassic of aluminium metal was deposited temperature remains constant, the World, and seeing squids behave on the top electrode to form the increase in reflectance makes the similarly when visualized with a infrared- reflecting coating. For device appear ~2 °C warmer than standard camera underwater,” says narrowband devices, alternating the background. Gorodetsky. layers of titanium dioxide and The potential applications of adaptive infrared-r eflecting systems are numerous and include building insulation elements, energy- conserving windows, components for spacecraft, wearable thermoregulatory materials and camouflage platforms. The researchers are keen to enhance the performance of the infrared-r eflecting system. “We are now pursuing both autonomous thermoregulatory technologies and adaptive camouflage systems that function in the visible,” concludes Gorodetsky. Maria Longobardi, Associate Editor, Nature Reviews Physics ORIgInal aRTICle Xu, C. et al. Adaptive infrared-r eflecting systems inspired by cephalopods. Science 359, 1495–1500 (2018) Nature r eviews | Materials volume 3 | ju N e 2018 | 73 © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. Credit: Lara Crow/Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Nature Reviews Materials – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2018
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