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  1. Cyclic actuation is critical for driving motion and transport in living systems, ranging from oscillatory motion of bacterial flagella to the rhythmic gait of terrestrial animals. These processes often rely on dynamic and responsive networks of oscillators—a regulatory control system that is challenging to replicate in synthetic active matter. Here, we describe a versatile platform of light-driven active particles with interaction geometries that can be reconfigured on demand, enabling the construction of oscillator and spinner networks. We employ optically induced Marangoni trapping of particles confined to an air–water interface and subjected to patterned illumination. Thermal interactions among multiple particles give rise to complex coupled oscillatory and rotational motions, thus opening frontiers in the design of reconfigurable, multiparticle networks exhibiting collective behavior.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Self‐folding is a powerful approach to fabricate materials with complex 3D forms and advanced properties using planar patterning steps, but suffers from intrinsic limitations in robustness due to the highly bifurcated nature of configuration space around the flat state. Here, a simple mechanism is introduced to achieve robust self‐folding of microscale origami by separating actuation into two discrete steps using different thermally responsive hydrogels. First, the vertices are pre‐biased to move in the desired direction from the flat state by selectively swelling one of the two hydrogels at high temperature. Subsequently, the creases are folded toward their target angles by activating swelling of the second hydrogel upon cooling to room temperature. Since each vertex can be individually programmed to move upward or downward, it is possible to robustly select the desired branch even in multi‐vertex structures with reasonably high complexity. This strategy provides key new principles for designing shaping‐morphing materials that avoid undesired distractor states, expanding their potential applications in areas such as soft robotics, sensors, mechanical metamaterials, and deployable devices.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Functional polymers with sulfobetaine or phosphorylcholine zwitterions as pendent groups are demonstrated as both ligands and host matrices for CsPbBr3perovskite nanoparticles (PNPs). These polymers produce nanocomposite films with excellent NP dispersion, optical transparency, and impressive resistance to NP degradation upon exposure to water. Multidentate interactions of the zwitterion‐containing copolymers with the PNPs induce dispersed or weakly aggregated nanocomposite morphologies, depending on the extent of zwitterionic functionality in the polymer. Incorporating additional functionality into the polymers, such as benzophenone pendent groups, yields lithographically patternable films, while time‐resolved photoluminescence measurements provide insight into the electronic impact of PNPs in zwitterionic polymer matrices.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Functional polymers with sulfobetaine or phosphorylcholine zwitterions as pendent groups are demonstrated as both ligands and host matrices for CsPbBr3perovskite nanoparticles (PNPs). These polymers produce nanocomposite films with excellent NP dispersion, optical transparency, and impressive resistance to NP degradation upon exposure to water. Multidentate interactions of the zwitterion‐containing copolymers with the PNPs induce dispersed or weakly aggregated nanocomposite morphologies, depending on the extent of zwitterionic functionality in the polymer. Incorporating additional functionality into the polymers, such as benzophenone pendent groups, yields lithographically patternable films, while time‐resolved photoluminescence measurements provide insight into the electronic impact of PNPs in zwitterionic polymer matrices.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Patterning of nanoparticles (NPs) via photochemical reduction within thermally responsive hydrogel films is demonstrated as a versatile platform for programming light‐driven shape morphing and materials assembly. Responsive hydrogel disks, containing patterned metal NPs, form characteristic wrinkled structures when illuminated at an air/water interface. The resulting distortion of the three‐phase (air/water/hydrogel) contact lines induces capillary interactions between two or more disks, which are either attractive or repulsive depending on the selected pattern of light. By programming the shapes of the NP‐rich regions, as well as of the hydrogel objects themselves, the number and location of attractive interactions are specified, and the assembly geometry is controlled. Remarkably, appropriately patterned illumination enables sustained rotation and motion of the hydrogel disks. Overall, these results offer insight into a wide variety of shape‐programmable materials and capillary assemblies, simply by controlling the NP patterns and illumination of these soft materials.

     
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