A contractile gel that stores light energy

21 January 2015

© Nicolas Giuseppone

Living systems have the ability to produce collective molecular motions that have an effect at the macroscale, such as a muscle that contracts via the concerted action of protein motors. In order to reproduce this phenomenon, a team at CNRS's Institut Charles Sadron led by Nicolas Giuseppone, professor at the Université de Strasbourg, has made a polymer gel that is able to contract through the action of artificial molecular motors. When activated by light, these nanoscale motors twist the polymer chains in the gel, which as a result contracts by several centimeters. Another advantage is that the new material is able to store the light energy absorbed. This paper is published in Nature Nanotechnology dated 19 January 2015.


The project was partly funded by the cluster Chemistry of Complex Systems.

To read the press release


Quan Li, Gad Fuks, Emilie Moulin, Mounir Maaloum, Michel Rawiso, Igor Kulic, Justin T. Foy, and Nicolas Giuseppone.
Macroscopic contraction of a gel induced by the integrated motion of light-driven molecular motors. Nature Nanotechnology, 2015, DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2014.315.