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Supramolecular hydrogen-bonded photodriven actuators based on an azobenzene-containing main-chain liquid crystalline poly(ester-amide)

Abstract

Development of physically crosslinked photodeformable main-chain liquid crystalline polymers (LCPs) is of significant importance (due to their good processability and recyclability, high thermal and mechaincal properties, and outstanding shape changing effects) but remains a challenge. Herein, we report the facile and efficient synthesis of a new azobenzene (azo)-containing main-chain LCP with both amide and ester groups in its backbone (i.e., poly(ester-amide) or PEA) and photomobility of its supramolecular hydrogen-bonded fibers. The azo-containing PEA was readily obtained in a high yield by the first synthesis of an acrylate-type azo monomer with an N-hydroxysuccinimide carboxylate end-group and its subsequent Michael addition-amidation cooperative polymerization with cysteamine under the mild condition. The above polymerization mechainsm and the exact chemical structure of the resulting azo polymer were elucidated by performing a model reaction. The obtained azo polymer exhibited high thermal stability, a low glass transition temperature, a broad range of smectic liquid crystalline phase, and reversible photoresponsive behavior, and its amide groups proved to form strong hydrogen-bonding interaction among polymer chains. Its supramolecular hydrogen-bonded fibers with a high alignment order of mesogens were easily prepared via the simple melt spinning method, and they showed much higher mechanical strength than many physically and chemically crosslinked photomobile side-chain LCP systems and more rapid photoinduced bending than both the previously reported physically crosslinked main-chain LCP and some typical chemically crosslinked side-chain LCP-based fibers even at ambient temperature. The decisive role of the hydrogen bonding-induced physically crosslinked networks in the photomobility of PEA fibers was also demonstrated.

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Jun 2017, accepted on 15 Sep 2017 and first published on 15 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02943H
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Supramolecular hydrogen-bonded photodriven actuators based on an azobenzene-containing main-chain liquid crystalline poly(ester-amide)

    J. Nie, X. Liu, Y. Yan and H. Zhang, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02943H

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