Photoinduced Curling of Organic Molecular Crystal Nanowires


  • This research was supported by the National Science Foundation grant DMR-0907310. The electron microscopy measurements were done at the Center for Advanced Materials and Microscopy (CFAMM) at UC Riverside. We thank Dr. Fook S. Tham for single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. R.O.A.-K. acknowledges the support of KSAU-HS/KAIMRC through grants RC10/104 and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) through Grant AT-30-435.


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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.