Light-Driven Side-On Nematic Elastomer Actuators


  • We thank Dr. Pascal Silberzan and Prof. Qixiang Zhou for many helpful discussions and Dr. Julie Plastino for her critical reading of the manuscript. This work was partly supported by “Programme Matériaux” of the CNRS (2002-49) and by “Programme de Recherches Avancées de Coopération Franco-Chinoise” (PRA MX02-06; P. Keller and X. Wang).


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.