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Keywords:

  • Actuators;
  • Artificial muscles;
  • Elastomers;
  • Photopolymerization

A range of monodomain nematic azo side-on elastomers, containing different proportions of photoisomerizable azo mesogenic moieties, were prepared for the first time photochemically using a radical photoinitiator working at wavelengths above 600 nm. These elastomers exhibit a photomechanical contraction of up to 20 % upon irradiation with UV light. The Figure shows an elastomer film in its contracted form under UV irradiation.