Smart silk origami as eco-sensors for environmental pollution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Origami folding is an easy, cost-effective, and scalable fabrication method for changing a flat material into a complex 3D functional shape. Here, we created semicrystalline silk films doped with iron oxide particles by mold casting and annealing. The flat silk films could be loaded with natural dyes and folded into 3D geometries using origami principles following plasticization. They performed locomotion under a magnetic field, were reusable, and displayed colorimetric stability. The critical parameters for the design of the semi-autonomous silk film, including ease of folding, shape preservation, and locomotion in the presence of a magnetic field, were characterized, and pH detection was achieved by eye and by digital image colorimetry with a response time below 1 min. We demonstrate a practical application a battery-free origami silk boat as a colorimetric sensor for waterborne pollutants, which was reusable at least five times. This work introduces silk eco-sensors and merges responsive actuation and origami techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3658-3666
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number8
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


  • silk fibroin
  • semi-autonomy
  • reusable materials
  • origami
  • pollution sensors


Dive into the research topics of 'Smart silk origami as eco-sensors for environmental pollution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this