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Photomechanical Energy Transfer to Photopassive Polymers through Hydrogen and Halogen Bonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7535-7542
Number of pages8
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The supramolecular assembly of photoactive azobenzenes with passive polymers via halogen or hydrogen bonding is a cost-effective way to design materials for various photomechanical applications that convert light energy directly into macroscopic motion, for instance, in all-optical surface patterning and photochemical imaging of plasmonic structures. To elucidate the molecular-level origins of this motion, we show, by coupling dynamic infrared spectroscopy to a photo-orientation setup, that supramolecular bonds above a certain interaction strength threshold are photostable under vigorous photoisomerization cycling and capable of translating the photo-orientation of azobenzenes into the orientation of nonabsorbing host polymer side chains. A correlation is found between azobenzene photoinduced molecular orientation and macroscopic all-optical surface patterning efficiency. The improved performance of halogen-bonded systems in photopatterning applications can be related to the absence of a plasticizing effect on the polymer matrix, which may enable the material to retain an optimal glass transition temperature, in contrast to hydrogen-bonded and nonbonded references. Thus, our results provide design guidelines in terms of the nature and strength of the supramolecular interaction and of the degree of azo functionalization needed to optimize the motion transfer to passive polymers.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland