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Composites of nanoparticles and polymers are finding wide applications to alter material properties, conductivity, and utility. Here, we show that nano-composites can be designed to heat in the presence of near infrared light. This process is useful in transitioning materials through a transition temperature for a range of applications. For example, shape-memory materials (including polymers, metals, and ceramics) are those that are processed into a temporary shape and respond to some external stimuli (e.g., temperature) to undergo a transition back to a permanent shape and may be useful in a range of applications from aerospace to fabrics, to biomedical devices and microsystem components. In this work, we formulated composites of gold nanorods (<1% by volume) and biodegradable networks, where exposure to infrared light induced heating and consequently, shape transitions. The heating is repeatable and tunable based on nanorod concentration and light intensity.
Date Posted: 11 December 2009