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Reversible Switching of the Shear Modulus of Photoresponsive Liquid-Crystalline Polymers


  • This work was sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT under contract no. DAAD-19-02-D0002. This work is based upon research conducted at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences under award DMR-0225180. Johannes Soulages would like to thank the Swiss National Science Foundation for financial support (grant PBEZ2-115179).


Manipulation makes light work: The morphology and rheological properties of a liquid-crystalline system can be dynamically manipulated with UV light by attaching photoresponsive liquid-crystalline moieties to a siloxane-based polymer. Stimulation with UV light induces a conformational change in the molecule, which disrupts the liquid-crystalline mesophase (see picture), and results in a dramatic change in its rheological properties.

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