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Intentional deformations add new dimension and functionality to metamaterials.
A recent Nature publication from the group of Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering, demonstrates an exciting development in the area of tunable metamaterials. The paper, entitled, "Electrochemically Reconfigurable Architected Materials," details a new material that undergoes sophisticated reactions when an electrochemical stimulation is applied. The fascinating and novel aspect of this material is that it can retain its in-between state once the stimulus is removed and can be reversed easily.
The team - a collaborative effort between the Greer group and the Di Leo group at Georgia Institute of Technology - leveraged known defects in materials and tuned them in such a way that their shortcomings were used to the team's advantage. The material was constructed using two-photon lithography to essentially 3D print silicon-coated lattice structures.
Metamaterials with such flexible capabilities could have groundbreaking applications for next-generation battery storage and implantable biomedical devices.
"'This just further shows that materials are just like people, it's the imperfections that make them interesting. I have always had a particular liking for defects, and this time Xiaoxing managed to first uncover the effect of different types of defects on these metamaterials and then use them to program a particular pattern that would emerge in response to electrochemical stimulus,' says Greer." Read the full Caltech article about this exciting scientific development here.