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Laser-patterned thin films for kirigami-like structures: New opportunities in hydro swelling

Researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology develop innovative kirigami hydrogels with auxetic properties, expanding possibilities for future applications.

Researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) have made significant advancements in the development of finely structured hydrogels through the use of kirigami patterns. Hydrogels are materials with a network of water-attracting molecules that allow them to swell when exposed to water. The team, led by Daisuke Nakagawa and Itsuo Hanasaki, utilized laser processing to cut patterns into a thin film composed of cellulose nanofibers before adding water to allow the film to swell.

The unique kirigami pattern used by the researchers exhibits an auxetic property, meaning that the width increases when stretched in the longitudinal direction. This property is crucial for the adaptive deformation of the hydrogel, allowing it to maintain its characteristics during cyclic loading. The three-dimensionality of the hydrogel structure emerges when it swells, making it convenient to store in a dry state before use.

The potential applications for these adaptive hydrogels are vast, ranging from soft components in robotic technologies to soft switches and sensor components. Medical applications, such as tissue engineering, wound dressings, and drug delivery systems, could also benefit from the development of kirigami hydrogels. The research conducted by the TUAT team expands the possibilities for future hydrogel applications and paves the way for the development of multifunctional materials that can adapt to environmental conditions.

Itsuo Hanasaki, one of the lead researchers, emphasizes the importance of maintaining the designed characteristics of the hydrogel while demonstrating adaptivity to environmental conditions. This balance is crucial for the development of intelligent materials that can meet the diverse needs of various applications.

For more information about the research conducted by the TUAT team, please visit the paper published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. The open-access journal publishes outstanding research articles in all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and material properties. For further inquiries, please contact Dr. Yasufumi Nakamichi, the STAM Publishing Director.

Overall, the advancements made in kirigami hydrogels by the TUAT researchers have the potential to revolutionize the field of materials science and pave the way for the development of innovative and adaptive materials for a wide range of applications.

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