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Synthesis and Photoinduced Anisotropy of Polymers Containing Nunchaku-Like Unit with an Azobenzene and a Mesogen

Research Branch of Advanced Functional Materials, School of Materials and Energy, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
School of Automotive Studies, Tongji University, Shanghai 201804, China
Department of Chemical Engineering, Laboratory of Advanced Materials (MOE), Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Polymers 2019, 11(4), 600;
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Design and Synthesis of Polymers)
PDF [2161 KB, uploaded 2 April 2019]


A series of polymers containing nunchaku-like unit with an azo chromophore and a mesogen group was successfully prepared and photoinduced anisotropy of the obtained polymers was minutely investigated. Firstly, monomers containing nunchaku-like unit with an azo chromophore and a mesogen group linked by flexible group were synthesized. The structure of the monomers was confirmed via NMR COSY spectra. Subsequently, the obtained monomers were polymerized into corresponding polymers through RAFT polymerization. The prepared polymer samples were characterized through NMR, FTIR, gel permeation chromatography (GPC), and UV-vis testing while the thermal properties of the samples were investigated through differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) measurements. The photoinduced isomerization of the polymers, which was researched in situ via measuring UV-vis spectra of the polymer solutions and spin-coated films under irradiation with 450 nm light or putting in darkness, demonstrated the rapid trans-cis-trans isomerization of the polymers. When irradiated with a linearly polarized light, significant photoinduced birefringence and dichroism were observed, suggesting photoinduced isomerization of azobenzene can drive orientation of mesogen in the system. This study blazes a way to design the optical materials with light-controllable birefringence and dichroism. View Full-Text
Keywords: azobenzene; mesogen; isomerization; photoinduced anisotropy azobenzene; mesogen; isomerization; photoinduced anisotropy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, L.; Zhang, Y.; Zhan, C.; You, Y.; Zhang, H.; Ma, J.; Xiong, Z.; Liu, X.; Wei, R. Synthesis and Photoinduced Anisotropy of Polymers Containing Nunchaku-Like Unit with an Azobenzene and a Mesogen. Polymers 2019, 11, 600.

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