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The unique optical behaviour of bio-related materials with organic chromophores

Authors

  • Francesco Ciardelli,

    Corresponding author
    1. Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IPCF-CNR), Pisa, Italy
    • SPIN-PET, Spin-off Company of the University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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  • Monica Bertoldo,

    1. Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IPCF-CNR), Pisa, Italy
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  • Simona Bronco,

    1. Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IPCF-CNR), Pisa, Italy
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  • Andrea Pucci,

    1. Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IPCF-CNR), Pisa, Italy
    2. Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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  • Giacomo Ruggeri,

    1. Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IPCF-CNR), Pisa, Italy
    2. Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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  • Francesca Signori

    1. Istituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IPCF-CNR), Pisa, Italy
    2. Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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Correspondence to: Francesco Ciardelli, SPIN-PET, Spin-off Company of the University of Pisa, Via Risorgimento 35, 56126 Pisa, Italy. e-mail: fciard@dcci.unipi.it

Abstract

Molecularly designed materials based on macromolecules and organic dyes offer unique opportunities in connection with the possibility of preparing optically responsive ‘smart’ materials. Indeed macromolecules are able to transmit and amplify small signals reaching sites at interacting distance through the involvement of the whole chain. The corresponding materials can then acquire stimuli-responsive properties in relation to specific features connected to primary structure and conformation. As a first approach to benefit from the above features for preparing eco-compatible smart materials, bio-related polypeptides, polysaccharides and polyesters can be used as the macromolecular partner in combination with a selected dye following different interaction methodologies. Two distinct routes were used to prepare optically responsive products from the above bio-related polymers, respectively based either on the covalent bonding to the original macromolecules of photochromic molecular species, such as azobenzene and spiropyran, or on the morphology-modulated dispersion of highly conjugated dyes in the polymer bulk. Examples related to the two different routes have been investigated in our laboratory and are presented and discussed also with reference to selected recent cases from the literature. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

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