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Keywords:

  • polyoxometalates;
  • self-assembly;
  • disassembly;
  • photo-responsive;
  • azobenzene
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The photo-responsive azobenzene-ended surfactant-encapsulated polyoxometalate (POM) complex is prepared. The photoswitchable assembly and disassembly of the complex are demonstrated in different polar solvents, driven by the photoisomerization of azobenzene group-induced polarity change. The reversible assembly and disassembly of the complex further facilitate the controllable oxidation reaction catalyzed by POM and the separation of POM-based homogeneous catalyst.