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Keywords:

  • crystal growth;
  • isomers;
  • nanowires;
  • photochemistry;
  • photomechanical response
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Molecular crystal nanowires composed of an anthracene-9-(1,3-butadiene) derivative exhibit a rapid transition from straight to highly coiled structures when exposed to a pulse of visible light. The curling does not depend on the direction of light illumination and occurs for nanowires composed of either the E or Z isomer. The shape change is driven by an EZ photoisomerization reaction that generates a mixture of isomers within a single nanowire.