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Keywords:

  • layer-by-layer assembly;
  • nitrobenzyl;
  • charge-shifting;
  • polyelectrolytes;
  • UV light;
  • multilayers
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Photoreactive polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) that dissolve upon UV irradiation are described. Light-induced switching of the formal charge of a photoreactive polycation resulted in repulsive interlayer electrostatic forces, and caused the dissolution of PEM films. Combining both photoreactive and inert polycations in the same film yielded additional control over the light-induced change in film thickness.