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An autonomous actuator driven by fluctuations in ambient humidity : Professor Takuzo Aida, Department of Chemistry and Biotechnolog , and other researchers.

Devices that respond to negligibly small fluctuations in environmental conditions will be of great value for the realization of more sustainable, low-power-consumption actuators and electronic systems. Herein we report an unprecedented film actuator that seemingly operates autonomously, because it responds to the adsorption and desorption of a minute amount of water (several hundred nanograms per 10mm2) possibly induced by fluctuations in the ambient humidity. The actuation is extremely rapid (50ms for one curl) and can be repeated >10,000 times without deterioration. On heating or light irradiation, the film loses adsorbed water and bends quickly, so that it can jump vertically up to 10mm from a surface or hit a glass bead. The film consists of a π-stacked carbon nitride polymer, formed by one-pot vapour-deposition polymerization of guanidinium carbonate, and is characterized by a tough, ultralightweight and highly anisotropic layered structure. An actuator partially protected against water adsorption is also shown to walk unidirectionally.

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