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Polymers 2018, 10(5), 531;

Kinetics of Ordering and Deformation in Photosensitive Azobenzene LC Networks

Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung, Hohe Str. 6, 01069 Dresden, Germany
Institute of Macromolecular Compounds, Russian Academy of Sciences, Bolshoi pr. 31, Saint-Petersburg 199004, Russia
Cherepovets State University, pr. Lunacharskogo 5, Cherepovets 162600, Russia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elastomers)
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Azobenzene-containing polymer networks are unique compounds that are able to change their shape in response to light, which makes them prospective materials for photocontrollable nano-templates, sensors, microrobots, artificial muscles, etc. In present work, we study the kinetics of light-induced ordering and deformation in two-component polymer networks containing optically inert liquid crystalline (LC) mesogens and azobenzene chromophores. By this, we generalize our previous theory [J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2017, 8, 1094–1098] devoted to the kinetics of photoizomerization in one-component azo-polymers without mesogenic inclusions. The kinetic equations of photoisomerization are used, taking into account the angular selectivity of the photoisomerization with respect to the polarization direction of the light E. After multiple trans-cis-trans photoisomerization cycles, the azobenzenes are reoriented preferably perpendicular to the vector E. This changes the ordering of the mesogens due to the orientational LC interactions between the components. The light-induced reordering is accompanied by network deformation. Time evolution of ordering and deformation is found as a function of the intensity of light and structural parameters of the LC azo-networks, which define the viscosity, the strength of the LC interactions between the components, the volume fraction of the azobenzene moieties, and the angular distribution of azobenzenes in polymer chains. Established structure-property relationships are in agreement with a number of experimental data. View Full-Text
Keywords: photodeformable polymers; polymer networks; liquid crystals; statistical physics; kinetics photodeformable polymers; polymer networks; liquid crystals; statistical physics; kinetics

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Toshchevikov, V.; Petrova, T.; Saphiannikova, M. Kinetics of Ordering and Deformation in Photosensitive Azobenzene LC Networks. Polymers 2018, 10, 531.

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