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XX5.02 - Photomorphon Networks: The Science of Intelligent Shape-Changing Structures and Their Applications 
Date/Time:
April 23, 2014   8:45am - 9:00am
 
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A “photomorphon” is an optical-fiber-based structure that forms the basic building block of a smart material that intelligently changes shape in response to light. Photomorphons are made of patterned dye-doped elastomers and serve several functions simultaneously, such as controlling the flow of light in response to external stimuli -- e.g. stress and temperature; performing optical logic operations on light pulses; changing the material's shape based on light intensity and external stimuli; and exhibiting optical multi-stability so that for one set of inputs the fiber can be in many shape configurations and internal light intensity levels.A series of photomorphon devices can be fabricated into a single strand of polymer optical fiber that communicate with each other using light and time-division multiplexing or wavelength multiplexing to access specific units in the network. Like a transistor, which endows integrated circuits with complex functionality, photomorphons interconnected with light will make photonic circuits with exceptional computational capabilities. Each element within such a photomorphon network will also be both a sensor and an actuator, making a morphing material that intelligently changes shape in response to external stimuli. We are developing new materials with enhanced photomechanical response and integrating them together to explore applications that can take advantage of morphing materials. Applications will include tactile haptics and sensors, ultra-smart active textiles, and adaptive stretchable electronics, antennas and mirrors.The simplest photomorphon is a Bragg grating fabricated in a photomechanical fiber. The grating reflects a single wavelength at twice the grating period; but, the photomechanical effect changes the grating period and alters the wavelength of light that is reflected. The interplay between light and grating induces an intensity dependent change in the grating's period, leading to complex behavior. A Photomechanical Optical Device (POD) is a multi-grating device made of two or more parallel reflectors surrounding a photomechanical material. A POD is essentially a nonlinear Fabry-Perot cavity that intensifies the light within to leverage the photomechanical effect, and acts as a sensor and actuator. In addition, it exhibits multistability in its light output and mechanical state.This talk will describe the experimental implementation of a POD as well as the next generation of PODs made with Bragg grating reflectors. The theory of multistability, sensing, and actuation in a POD will be discussed and experimental results presented. Also reported will be our progress on making a photomorphon-based deep brain stimulater with electrodes to apply an electric field and a photomechanical actuator section for steering. Preliminary animal studies on early prototypes will also be reported.
 


 
 
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