Reaction & Synthesis

Video: "Smart Curtains" Respond To Light

By Chemical Processing Staff

Apr 23, 2014

University of California, Berkeley

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, are developing light-activated "smart curtains" made from carbon nanotubes layered together onto a plastic polycarbonate membrane.

According to a press release from UC Berkeley, the 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,” says Javey, who is also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. “The light from a flashlight is enough to generate a response.”

Check out the video: