Antagonistic triblock polymer gels powered by pH oscillations

Paul D. Topham, Jonathan R. Howse, Colin J. Crook, Steven P. Armes, Richard A.L. Jones, Anthony J. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study was conducted to create a pH-responsive layer, in which a small change in the individual polyacid or polybase gel length was transferred into a larger motion that curls up the gel. It was observed that the transfer of motion from a linear displacement into a curved displacement through the geometric design effectively increases the displacement rate. A robust, reversible, and chemically driven mechanical actuator was was produced that demonstrated its response over many pH oscillations. The affine nature of the triblock copolymers, demonstrated for for the polyacid and polybase indicated that the effect will also function at some smaller length scales, which is appropriate for a working biomimetic and soft nanotechnology device. The study also demonstrated the potential applicability of these polymeric gels and suggested the fabrication of related molecular machines and devices based on the principles of soft nanotechnology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4393-4395
Number of pages3
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • pH oscillations
  • antagonistic triblock polymer gels


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