Graphene 'Paper' Acts Like Animated Origami

First Posted: Nov 10, 2015 03:35 PM EST

A team of researchers have found a technique that causes small objects made from graphene sheets to move around using heat and infrared light. The new development uses an origami approach, the art folding of paper, according to a study at Donghua University in China.

The researchers' paper was of two types, the first being one-atom thick sheets of graphene composed of hydrogen and the other with oxygen compounds, resulting in graphene oxide and graphene oxide-polydopamine. Graphene oxide is a compound made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.

The researchers used water, which caused the paper to stick to each other, and then they applied heat and light, which allowed them to create hinge-like and joint-like features. This allowed the objects to be somewhat programmable, according to a news release.

The researchers bonded the sheets using a special technique. They created a box and worm shaped object, which were capable of moving with the use of heat. The third object was a claw that was grabbing and lifting other small objects, according to a news release.

This new technique could be developed to create a range of objects, like remote controlled robotics, tissue engineering and varying types of artificial muscles.

In their next experiment, the researchers are planning to create similar objects that are down to nonosize.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Science Advances.

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