Abstract: Colors enable interaction and communication between living species in a myriad of biological and artificial environments. While living organisms feature low-power mechanisms to dynamically control color in soft tissues, man-made color-changing devices remain predominantly rigid and energy intensive. Here, architectured composites that display striking color changes when stretched in selective directions under ambient light with minimum power input are reported. The orientation-dependent color change results from the rotation of reflective coated platelets that are embedded in a soft polymer matrix and pre-aligned in a well-defined architecture. The light reflected by the platelets generates structural color defined by the oxide coating on the platelet surface. By magnetically programming the initial orientation and spatial distribution of selected platelets within the soft matrix, composites with strain-modulated color-changing effects that cannot be achieved using state-of-the-art technologies are created. The proposed concept of strain-induced architectured color can be harnessed to develop low-power smart stretchable displays, tactile synthetic skins, and autonomous soft robotic devices that undergo fast and reversible color changes through the mechano-optic coupling programmed within their soft composite architecture.
Poloni, E., Rafsanjani, A., Place, V., Ferretti, D. and Studart, A.R., 2022. Stretchable Soft Composites with Strain‐Induced Architectured Color. Advanced Materials, 34(6), p.2104874.