Three-dimensional mesostructures as high-temperature growth templates, electronic cellular scaffolds, and self-propelled microrobots

Zheng Yan, Mengdi Han, Yan Shi, Adina Badea, Yiyuan Yang, Ashish Kulkarni, Erik Hanson, Mikhail E. Kandel, Xiewen Wen, Fan Zhang, Yiyue Luo, Qing Lin, Hang Zhang, Xiaogang Guo, Yuming Huang, Kewang Nan, Shuai Jia, Aaron W. Oraham, Molly B. Mevis, Jaeman LimXuelin Guo, Mingye Gao, Woomi Ryu, Ki Jun Yu, Bruno G. Nicolau, Aaron Petronico, Stanislav S. Rubakhin, Jun Lou, Pulickel M. Ajayan, Katsuyo Thornton, Gabriel Popescu, Daining Fang, Jonathan V. Sweedler, Paul V. Braun, Haixia Zhang, Ralph G. Nuzzo, Yonggang Huang, Yihui Zhang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Recent work demonstrates that processes of stress release in prestrained elastomeric substrates can guide the assembly of sophisticated 3D micro/nanostructures in advanced materials. Reported application examples include soft electronic components, tunable electromagnetic and optical devices, vibrational metrology platforms, and other unusual technologies, each enabled by uniquely engineered 3D architectures. A significant disadvantage of these systems is that the elastomeric substrates, while essential to the assembly process, can impose significant engineering constraints in terms of operating temperatures and levels of dimensional stability; they also prevent the realization of 3D structures in freestanding forms. Here, we introduce concepts in interfacial photopolymerization, nonlinear mechanics, and physical transfer that bypass these limitations. The results enable 3D mesostructures in fully or partially freestanding forms, with additional capabilities in integration onto nearly any class of substrate, from planar, hard inorganic materials to textured, soft biological tissues, all via mechanisms quantitatively described by theoretical modeling. Illustrations of these ideas include their use in 3D structures as frameworks for templated growth of organized lamellae from AgCl–KCl eutectics and of atomic layers of WSe2 from vapor-phase precursors, as open-architecture electronic scaffolds for formation of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neural networks, and as catalyst supports for propulsive systems in 3D microswimmers with geometrically controlled dynamics. Taken together, these methodologies establish a set of enabling options in 3D micro/nanomanufacturing that lie outside of the scope of existing alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E9455-E9464
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 7

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We thank Kaixiang Huang and Wenjie Liu for technical assistance. The team acknowledges support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (DE-FG02-07ER46471) for efforts on mechanical assembly, transfer and release, electronic cellular scaffolds, and self-propelled microrobots. Y.Z. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11672152 and 11722217), the National Basic Research Program of China (2015CB351900), and Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology. Yonggang Huang acknowledges support from the NSF (CMMI1300846, CMMI1400169, and CMMI1534120) for modeling and simulation efforts. High-temperature efforts were supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (FA9550-12-0471). E.H. and K.T. acknowledge computational resources from the US Department of Defense High Performance Modernization Program. S.S.R. and J.V.S. are supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (P30-DA018310). M.E.K. and G.P. are supported by the National Science Foundation (CBET-0939511 STC, DBI 14-50962 EAGER, and IIP-1353368).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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