Stimuli-responsive materials undergo physicochemical and/or structural changes when a specific actuation is applied. They are heterogeneous composites, consisting of a non-responsive matrix where functionality is provided by the filler. Surprisingly, the synthesis of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based stimuli-responsive elastomers (SRE) has seldomly been presented. Here, we present the structural, biological, optical, magnetic, and mechanical properties of several magnetic SRE (M-SRE) obtained by combining PDMS and isoparafin-based ferrofluid (FF). Independently of the FF concentration, results have shown a similar aggregation level, with the nanoparticles mostly isolated (>60%). In addition to the superparamagnetic behavior, the samples show no cytotoxicity except the sample with the highest FF concentration. Spectral response shows FF concentrations where both optical readout and magnetic actuation can simultaneously be used. The Young’s modulus increases with the FF concentration until the highest FF concentration is used. Our results demonstrate that PDMS can host up to 24.6% FF (corresponding to 2.8% weight of Fe3O4 nanoparticles concentration). Such M-SRE are used to define microsystems – also called soft microsystems due to the use of soft materials as main mechanical structures. In that scenario, a large displacement for relatively low magnetic fields (<0.3 T) is achieved. The herein presented M-SRE characterization can be used for a large number of disciplines where magnetic actuation can be combined with optical detection, mechanical elements, and biological samples.
- Stimuli-responsive materials