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Crystals 2017, 7(8), 231;

Light-Triggered Formation of Surface Topographies in Azo Polymers

Functional Organic Materials and Devices, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5612 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 22 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Liquid Crystals)
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Properties such as friction, wettability and visual impact of polymer coatings are influenced by the surface topography. Therefore, control of the surface structure is of eminent importance to tuning its function. Photochromic azobenzene-containing polymers are an appealing class of coatings of which the surface topography is controllable by light. The topographies form without the use of a solvent, and can be designed to remain static or have dynamic properties, that is, be capable of reversibly switching between different states. The topographical changes can be induced by using linear azo polymers to produce surface-relief gratings. With the ability to address specific regions, interference patterns can imprint a variety of structures. These topographies can be used for nanopatterning, lithography or diffractive optics. For cross-linked polymer networks containing azobenzene moieties, the coatings can form topographies that disappear as soon as the light trigger is switched off. This allows the use of topography-forming coatings in a wide range of applications, ranging from optics to self-cleaning, robotics or haptics. View Full-Text
Keywords: azobenzene; surface topographies; surface relief gratings; liquid crystal networks; azo polymers; light responsive polymer coatings azobenzene; surface topographies; surface relief gratings; liquid crystal networks; azo polymers; light responsive polymer coatings

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Hendrikx, M.; Schenning, A.P.H.J.; Debije, M.G.; Broer, D.J. Light-Triggered Formation of Surface Topographies in Azo Polymers. Crystals 2017, 7, 231.

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