Poly NIPAM (N-isopropylacrylamide) is a kind of thermal responsive polymer that can be synthesized by polymerize NIPAM monomer from its water solution by UV radiation or other synthetic methods. The main impetus to study this material is due to its novel thermal behaviors such as "squeezing out" water from inside, switching from hydrophilic to hydrophobic and changing from transparent to opaque when heating up to its phase transition temperature. Numerous poly NIPAM co- polymers and composites were made to utilize these properties for drug delivery, chemical connectors, and optical switch. Here we are aiming for developing smart materials that can change their physical properties in respond to external stimuli such as electrical or optical signal, mechanical strain, pH, and so on. We are currently focused on the development of smart nanoconnectors for the interconnection between self-assembling programmable matter. We are also interested in the development of materials with tunable mechanical properties or actuators which respond to external stimuli.
Project end date: 08/16/11