Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineers create light-activated 'curtains'

Date:
January 21, 2014
Source:
University of California - Berkeley
Summary:
Forget remote-controlled curtains. A new development could lead to curtains and other materials that move in response to light, no batteries needed.

Engineers have created a new light-reactive material made up of carbon nanotubes and plastic polycarbonate. This video demonstrates experimental “curtains” that are engineered to either open or close in response to light. ()
Credit: Still image from video courtesy of Javey Research Group

Forget remote-controlled curtains. A new development by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could lead to curtains and other materials that move in response to light, no batteries needed.

Related Articles


A research team led by Ali Javey, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, layered carbon nanotubes -- atom-thick rolls of carbon -- onto a plastic polycarbonate membrane to create a material that moves quickly in response to light. Within fractions of a second, the nanotubes absorb light, convert it into heat and transfer the heat to the polycarbonate membrane's surface. The plastic expands in response to the heat, while the nanotube layer does not, causing the two-layered material to bend.

"The advantages of this new class of photo-reactive actuator is that it is very easy to make, and it is very sensitive to low-intensity light," said Javey, who is also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. "The light from a flashlight is enough to generate a response."

The researchers described their experiments in a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications. They were able to tweak the size and chirality -- referring to the left or right direction of twist -- of the nanotubes to make the material react to different wavelengths of light. The swaths of material they created, dubbed "smart curtains," could bend or straighten in response to the flick of a light switch.

"We envision these in future smart, energy-efficient buildings," said Javey. "Curtains made of this material could automatically open or close during the day."

Other potential applications include light-driven motors and robotics that move toward or away from light, the researchers said.

Other co-authors include Xiaobo Zhang, study lead author and former Ph.D. student in the Javey Lab, and researchers from the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center.

The National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy helped support this work.

Engineers have created a new light-reactive material made up of carbon nanotubes and plastic polycarbonate. This video demonstrates experimental "curtains" that are engineered to either open or close in response to light. (Video courtesy of Javey Research Group) Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ39p1m7-Wg


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Berkeley. The original article was written by Sarah Yang. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiaobo Zhang, Zhibin Yu, Chuan Wang, David Zarrouk, Jung-Woo Ted Seo, Jim C. Cheng, Austin D. Buchan, Kuniharu Takei, Yang Zhao, Joel W. Ager, Junjun Zhang, Mark Hettick, Mark C. Hersam, Albert P. Pisano, Ronald S. Fearing, Ali Javey. Photoactuators and motors based on carbon nanotubes with selective chirality distributions. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3983

Cite This Page:

University of California - Berkeley. "Engineers create light-activated 'curtains'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121192608.htm>.
University of California - Berkeley. (2014, January 21). Engineers create light-activated 'curtains'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121192608.htm
University of California - Berkeley. "Engineers create light-activated 'curtains'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121192608.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) Winemakers in southwestern France's Bordeaux are concerned about a proposed high speed train line that could affect the microclimate required for the region's sweet wine. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins