Chemical Engineering Seminar
This talk outlines a new approach for fabricating cell-sized machines that can freely explore space, interact with their environment, be manufactured en masse, and carry the full power of modern information technology. We start by identifying origami inspired fabrication as a scalable approach to building 3D machines, and miniaturize to the ultimate limit of folding atomically thin sheets. To do so, we turn atomically thin materials, like graphene, into actuators capable of bending elastically to micron radii of curvature. By patterning rigid panels on top of these actuators, we can localize bending to produce folds, and scale down existing origami patterns to produce a wide range of machines. These machines change shape in fractions of a second in response to environmental changes, can carry a range of electronic, chemical, and photonics payloads, and perform useful functions on time and length scales comparable to microscale biological organisms. Beyond simple stimuli, we demonstrate how to fabricate voltage responsive actuators that can be powered with onboard photovoltaics. Finally, we demonstrate that these mechanical technologies can be combined with silicon-based electronics, moving towards a complete platform for autonomous robotics at the cellular scale.
Refreshments served at 3:30 in Spalding Lab Lobby.