Fast light-driven motion of polydopamine nanomembranes

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The actuation of micro- and nanostructures controlled by external stimuli remains one of the exciting challenges in nanotechnology due to the wealth of fundamental questions and potential applications in energy harvesting, robotics, sensing, biomedicine, and tunable metamaterials. Photoactuation utilizes the conversion of light into motion through reversible chemical and physical processes and enables remote and spatiotemporal control of the actuation. Here, we report a fast light-to-motion conversion in few-nanometer thick bare polydopamine (PDA) membranes stimulated by visible light. Light-induced heating of PDA leads to desorption of water molecules and contraction of membranes in less than 140 μs. Switching off the light leads to a spontaneous expansion in less than 20 ms due to heat dissipation and water adsorption. Our findings demonstrate that pristine PDA membranes are multiresponsive materials that can be harnessed as robust building blocks for soft, micro-, and nanoscale actuators stimulated by light, temperature, and moisture level.


A study of light-to-motion conversion with polydopamine nanomembranes.


This work was supported by the Foundation for Polish Science (POIR.04.04.00-00-5D1B/18). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Grant Agreements 101003436 - PLASMMONS (T.V.), 813863 - BORGES (T.W., C.V.S., T.M.) and 847693 - REWIRE (C.M.S.). C.V.S. acknowledges funding from the Sino-German mobility program M-0424. G.F. acknowledges the support by ERC AdG SmartPhon (Grant 694977).


Lasers, Light, Membranes, Polymers, Plastics, Photoactuation


Nano Lett. 2022, 22, 2, 578–585.


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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego