Reciprocating power generation in a chemically driven synthetic muscle

Jonathan R. Howse, Paul Topham, Colin J. Crook, Anthony J. Gleeson, Wim Bras, Richard A.L. Jones, Anthony J. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A scalable synthetic muscle has been constructed that transducts nanoscale molecular shape changes into macroscopic motion. The working material, which deforms affinely in response to a pH stimulus, is a self-assembled block copolymer comprising nanoscopic hydrophobic domains in a weak polyacid matrix. A device has been assembled where the muscle does work on a cantilever and the force generated has been measured. When coupled to a chemical oscillator this provides a free running chemical motor that generates a peak power of 20 mW kg 1 by the serial addition of 10 nm shape changes that scales over 5 orders of magnitude. It is the nanostructured nature of the gel that gives rise to the affine deformation and results in a robust working material for the construction of scalable muscle devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number1
Early online date10 Dec 2005
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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