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Keywords:

  • Data storage, optical;
  • Diarylethenes;
  • Liquid crystals, nematic;
  • Optical switches;
  • Photochromism

Dithienylethene-containing glassy nematic liquid crystals (see Figure) have been synthesized, in which the dithienylethene core’s electronic transition moment is uniaxially aligned. Large changes in refractive index and optical birefringence could be induced in the solid state by photochemical means. Applications in non-destructive rewritable optical memory and high-speed photonic switches are envisaged.