Photoinduced switching in nanocomposites of azobenzene and molecular sieves


  • This work was supported by the DFG (Ma-1745/2-1) and a joint funding of BMFG and Land Berlin (project No. 03C3005). Cooperation and support by Prof. H. Baumgärtel (Freie Universität Berlin) is gratefully acknowledged. We thank I. Girnus, J. Kornatowski, G. Finger, and F. Schüth for molecular sieve crystals and R. Vetter and E. Biller for technical assistance.


A model system for the photoinduced rearrangement of adsorbates in molecular sieves—composites that hold promise as materials with new electronic and optical properties—is the photoinduced cis–trans isomerization of azobenzene (Az) in the zeolites AIPO4-5, ZSM-5, and silicalite −1. A spectroscopic investigation presented demonstrates that reversible intrazeolite isomerization of Az causes large changes in the optical properties of the composites, e.g., in absorbance and birefringence, making the materials of interest for optical switching.