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Issue 21, 2017
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The light-switching conductance of an anisotropic azobenzene-based polymer close-packed on horizontally aligned carbon nanotubes

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Abstract

Anisotropic light-switching properties are of great importance in advanced photodetectors, light-gated transistors, and energy storage devices. However, controlling the light-switching conductance of anisotropic materials remains challenging because of the difficulties in tuning the electronic interactions and microstructure in the longitudinal and transverse directions, respectively. We present a transparent and flexible photo-responsive film of azobenzene–poly(methyl methacrylate) (Azo–PMMA) close-packed on the sidewalls of horizontally aligned carbon nanotubes (HACNTs). The alignment leads to an anisotropic electrical conductivity (σ). The aligned composite film shows a steady increase in σ in the longitudinal (σ) and transverse directions (σ) during UV irradiation and a continuous decrease after irradiation. The light-switching conductance shows good cycling performance over 25 cycles, which is consistent with the isomerisation of the azobenzene groups in Azo–PMMA. Light-switching conductance is demonstrated in two directions, originating from the light-induced switch to a greater proportion of more conductive cis-Azo isomers, photo-doping and the film contracting during the trans-to-cis photo-isomerisation. The anisotropic Azo–PMMA/HACNT composite film with a light-switchable conductivity paves the way towards the fabrication of anisotropic photo-controllable materials by molecular design and microstructure modulation.

Graphical abstract: The light-switching conductance of an anisotropic azobenzene-based polymer close-packed on horizontally aligned carbon nanotubes

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Jan 2017, accepted on 03 Apr 2017 and first published on 03 Apr 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TC00142H
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017,5, 5068-5075
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    The light-switching conductance of an anisotropic azobenzene-based polymer close-packed on horizontally aligned carbon nanotubes

    S. Li, Y. Feng, P. Long, C. Qin and W. Feng, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, 5, 5068
    DOI: 10.1039/C7TC00142H

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