Synthesis of a Photoresponsive Liquid-Crystalline Polymer Containing Azobenzene

Authors

  • Chensha Li,

    1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
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  • Chi-Wei Lo,

    1. Materials Science Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706, USA
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  • Difeng Zhu,

    1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
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  • Chenhui Li,

    1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
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  • Ye Liu,

    1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
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  • Hongrui Jiang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
    2. Materials Science Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706, USA
    • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA Fax: +1 (1) 608 262 1267
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Abstract

The synthesis of an oriented liquid-crystalline photoresponsive polymer, prepared by polymerization of mono- and di-acrylates, both of which contain azobenzene chromophores, is reported. The prepared free-standing polymer film shows strong reversible photoinduced deformation upon exposure to unpolarized UV light at 366 nm, as a result of an optically induced isomeric change of the azobenzene moieties in the polymer network. The synthesis process is relatively simple and more efficient compared to conventional ones, and can be used to synthesize other liquid-crystalline photoresponsive polymers. The use of this photoresponsive polymer film as an optical high-pass/low-pass switch under UV or natural light irradiation for a laser beam is demonstrated. This photoresponsive polymer may have applications in robotic systems, artificial muscles, and actuators in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and labs on chips.

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