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Supramolecular Chiral Structures: Smart Polymer Organization Guided by 2D Polarization Light Patterns

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Abstract

Chiral periodic structures and photonic crystals have attracted a great deal of interest due to their applications in advanced photonics. As a consequence, the design and the fabrication of periodic microstructures in photosensitive materials have been widely investigated. Many achievements in the fabrication of such devices have been made over the last decade, but most of the established methods are still restricted to light intensity distribution with different structural shapes and minor attention has been devoted to exploit the vectorial nature of the light coupled with the response of polarization sensitive materials. Here, supramolecular chiral structuring in an amorphous azo-polymer is demonstrated, coupling the strong and diversified photoresponse of the material with the holographic recording of 2D polarization patterns. The smart polymer organization guided by the complex light field induces periodic chiral microstructures, with spiral- or ribbon-like shape and identical or opposite helicity, characterized by high stability and complete reconfigurability. The holographic structures are theoretically described by means of the Jones matrix method and experimentally investigated, confirming the simultaneous presence of both linear and circular photoinduced anisotropies. These results prove an alternative approach to design a new class of materials with periodic chiral arrangement.

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