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Simultaneous analysis of optical and mechanical properties of cross-linked azobenzene-containing liquid-crystalline polymer films

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4190-4196
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2011
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The photomechanical behavior of cross-linked azobenzene-containing liquid-crystalline polymer films was investigated by means of simultaneous measurement of their optical and mechanical properties. The connection between photoisomerization of the azobenzene moieties, photoinduced change in molecular alignment, photoinduced stress generation, and macroscopic bending was analyzed. Upon UV irradiation, the films exhibited bending due to gradient in cis-azobenzene content, and subsequent unbending when cis-azobenzene content became uniform throughout the film. The maximum photoinduced stress was generated in the same time scale as the time required to reach photostationary state in the cis-azobenzene concentration. The maximum values of photogenerated stress strongly depended on the crosslinker concentration, even if the azobenzene concentration and the cis-azobenzene content in the photostationary state were similar for all the polymer films. The stress is connected to the initial Youngs modulus and also to the photoinduced change in birefringence of the polymer films. In addition, a significant photoinduced decrease in Youngs modulus was for the first time observed in cross-linked azobenzene-containing liquid-crystalline polymers, which is likely to be an important factor in dictating their photomechanical behavior.

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • azobenzene, photomechanics, photomobile materials, photosoftening, Youngs modulus