Center for Mechanics and Materials; Center for Flexible Electronics Technology; AML, Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing,
Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Department of Materials
Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Micro and Nanotechnology
Laboratory International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Key Laboratory of Science and Technology on Micro/Nano Fabrication, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Department of Chemical Engineering and
Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA.
Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Mechanical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Department of Materials Science and
Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea.
Institute of Advanced Structure Technology; Beijing Key Laboratory of Lightweight
Multi-functional Composite Materials and Structures, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.
Departments of Materials Science and Engineering,
Biomedical Engineering, Neurological Surgery, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Center for Bio-Integrated
Electronics; and Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA. Haoran Fu and Kewang Nan contributed
equally to this work. *e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
hree-dimensional (3D) structures with shapes that can be
qualitatively and reversibly altered between different con
figurations are important in a wide range of engineering
applications, such as deployable space structures
, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
. Many such morphable 3D systems use designs
inspired by the ancient arts of origami and kirigami, in part due
to a myriad of shapes that can be achieved by actively folding and
unfolding thin sheets with pre-defined creases and cuts
research establishes systematic rules in lattice kirigami methods
and origami algorithms
for achieving complex targeted 3D con-
figurations. Furthermore, certain cellular 3D structures can be
formed by stacking these folded layers
, or assembling them into
. A different strategy exploits the foldability of prismatic
, where space-filling tessellations of polyhedra cre-
ate reconfigurable 3D structures comprising a periodic assembly of
rigid plates and elastic hinges. Although these design principles offer
remarkable levels of freedom in reconfiguration and shape-defined
mechanical responses, they most naturally apply to macroscopic
structures and simple, non-functional materials. Methods that
rely on residual stresses
or responsive materials (for example,
shape memory polymers or hydrogels)
provide alternatives. For
example, techniques referred to as 4D printing use heterogeneous
structures formed by 3D printing of mechanically responsive mate
rials to offer considerable flexibility in geometric designs and time-
evolving changes in them
. Such approaches are not, however,
readily applicable to high-performance, planar thin film materials
or to micro- or nanoscale architectures. Significant opportunities
remain in the development of schemes for realizing reconfigurable
3D mesostructures in classes of materials and with component
device designs found in existing forms of electronics, optoelectron
ics and microelectromechanical systems.
Here, we present a set of strategies and design concepts that
address this opportunity. The ideas begin with assembly of 3D
mesostructures using schemes that rely on biaxially prestrained
elastomer platforms and 2D precursors. Previous publications
demonstrate that simple, biaxial release of the prestrain enables
deterministic 3D assembly through continuous, smooth changes in
shape. In the present work, we show that strategically selected release
sequences and specially engineered precursor designs can trigger
Morphable 3D mesostructures and
microelectronic devices by multistable
, Kewang Nan
, Wubin Bai
, Wen Huang
, Ke Bai
, Luyao Lu
, Chaoqun Zhou
, Fei Liu
, Juntong Wang
, Mengdi Han
, Zheng Yan
, Haiwen Luan
, Yijie Zhang
, Jianing Zhao
, Xu Cheng
, Moyang Li
, Jung Woo Lee
, Yuan Liu
, Daining Fang
, Yonggang Huang
*, Yihui Zhang
* and John A. Rogers
Three-dimensional (3D) structures capable of reversible transformations in their geometrical layouts have important applica-
tions across a broad range of areas. Most morphable 3D systems rely on concepts inspired by origami/kirigami or techniques
of 3D printing with responsive materials. The development of schemes that can simultaneously apply across a wide range of
size scales and with classes of advanced materials found in state-of-the-art microsystem technologies remains challenging.
Here, we introduce a set of concepts for morphable 3D mesostructures in diverse materials and fully formed planar devices
spanning length scales from micrometres to millimetres. The approaches rely on elastomer platforms deformed in different
time sequences to elastically alter the 3D geometries of supported mesostructures via nonlinear mechanical buckling. Over
20 examples have been experimentally and theoretically investigated, including mesostructures that can be reshaped between
different geometries as well as those that can morph into three or more distinct states. An adaptive radiofrequency circuit and
a concealable electromagnetic device provide examples of functionally reconfigurable microelectronic devices.
© 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
NATURE MATERIALS | VOL 17 | MARCH 2018 | 268–276 | www.nature.com/naturematerials