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Shape‐Memory Photonic Thermoplastics from Cellulose Nanocrystals

Charlotte E. Boott, Miguel A. Soto, ,
Published: 30 July 2021

Abstract: Responsive materials prepared using shape-memory photonic crystals have potential applications in rewritable photonic devices, security features, and optical coatings. By embedding chiral nematic cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) in a polyacrylate matrix, a shape-memory photonic crystal thermoplastic (CNC-SMP) allows reversible capture of different colored states is reported. In this system, the temperature is used to program the shape-memory response, while pressure is used to compress the helical pitch of the CNC chiral nematic organization. By increasing the force applied (≈140–230 N), the structural color can be tuned from red to blue. Then, on-demand, the CNC-SMP can recover to its original state by heating it above the glass transition temperature. This cycle can be performed over 15 times without any loss of the shape-memory behavior or mechanical degradation of the sample. In addition, multicolor readouts can be programmed into the chiral nematic CNC-SMP by using a patterned substrate to press the sample, while the glass transition temperature of the CNC-SMP can be tuned over a 90 °C range by altering the monomer composition used to prepare the polyacrylate matrix.
Keywords: cellulose nanocrystals / photonic / self-assembly / shape-memory / thermoplastics

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