Autonomous MXene-PVDF actuator for flexible solar trackers

Shao Bo Tu, Lujia Xu, Jehad K. El Demellawi, Hanfeng Liang, Xiangming Xu, Sergei Lopatin, Stefaan De Wolf, Xixiang Zhang, Husam N. Alshareef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We report a novel flexible solar tracking system based on a photothermal-thermomechanical (PT-TM) actuator comprised of Ti3C2Tx MXene and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) bilayer. The actuation function of the proposed device originates from photothermal and surface plasmon-assisted effects in MXenes, coupled with thermomechanical deformation of in-plane aligned PVDF polymer. Two types of solar tracking modes are evaluated based on the experimental deformation behavior of the PT-TM actuator. We find that the uniaxial East-West solar tracking option increases the overall energy intensity reaching the solar module by over 30%, in comparison with the optimized tilting-controlled mode. We also demonstrate the thermally driven self-oscillation of the MXene-PVDF device, which may have promising potential for optically and thermally driven soft robotics. The PT-TM actuator devices display robust mechanical strength and durability, with no noticeable degradation in their performance after more than 1000 cycles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105277
JournalNano Energy
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020


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