Laser Supported Fabrication of Magneto-Responsive Surfaces

date: 22.10.2021

category: Sporočila za javnost


Laser-structured surfaces of magnetoactive elastomers (MAE) allow their properties, such as wettability, adhesion, self-cleaning and friction, to be adjusted in real time. Therefore, such surfaces enable innovative applications in microfluidics and soft robotics for the precise manipulation of liquids or mechanisms driven by simple magnetic field variation.


Image description: schematic presentation of new technology in the microstructuring of magnetoactive elastomers. The picture shows tilted lamellar structures that are extremely difficult to fabricate with conventional casting techniques.

A simple but fast and precise method for surface microstructuring of MAE is based on direct laser removal of material. The development took place in collaboration between researchers from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering UL, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics UL, the Jožef Stefan Institute and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg. The achievement was recently published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials Technologies (IF 7.848).

To illustrate the capabilities of the fabrication method, several lamellar MAE microstructures were produced, which are shown on the right in the figure above. In particular, tilted structures were made that are extremely difficult, or even impossible, to make with conventional casting techniques. The usefulness of such structures is reflected in the ability to easily modify their shape on a micro scale by simply changing the strength of the magnetic field. Thus, among other things, it allows control of sliding water droplets across a wide surface range between a sticky state and low angle sliding state (inclination angle less than 20°), which is shown in the videos in the open repository.


Financial support of reciprocal visits by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS, project no. BI-DE/20-21-11) and the German Academic Exchange Service (project no. 57513473) in the framework of the project “Smart magneto-sensitive coatings for controllable droplet splashing” is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also acknowledge financial support by the ARRS in the framework of the research programs P1-0192-Light and Matter and P2-0392-Optodynamics. I.A.B. thanks The State Conference of Women and Equality Officers at Bavarian Universities (LaKoF Bavaria) for a Ph.D. scholarship. The work of M.S. was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)—Project No. 437391117.


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