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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Apr 7;96(13):133902. Epub 2006 Apr 6.

Fast relaxation of carbon nanotubes in polymer composite actuators.

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Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, J J Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 OHE, United Kingdom.


Silicone elastomer composites containing multiwalled carbon nanotubes have been irradiated with near-infrared light to study their mechanical actuation response. We show that the speed of the stimulated response is faster than Debye relaxation, instead following a compressed-exponential law. However, the relaxation after switching off the light source follows the simple-exponential relaxation, as does the stimulated response at very low nanotube concentration. We discuss possible models and explanations to account for the fast photomechanical response.

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