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A reversible conductivity modulation of azobenzene-based ionic liquids in aqueous solutions by UV/Vis light

Abstract

Photo-induced conductivity modulation of stimuli-responsive materials is of great importance from viewpoint of fundamental and technology. In this work, 5 kinds of new azobenzene-based photo-responsive ionic liquids were synthesized and characterized, and UV/vis light modulation of their conductivity was investigated in aqueous solutions. Factors affecting conductivity modulation of the photo-responsive fluids, such as photo-isomerization efficiency, photo-regulation aggregation, concentration and chemical structure of the ionic liquids, were examined systematically. It was found that conductivity of the ionic liquids in water exhibited significant increase upon UV light irradiation, and the ionic liquids with shorter alkyl spacer in the cation showed more remarkable photo-induced conductivity enhancement with a maximum increase of 150%. In addition, solution conductivity was restored (or very close) to the initial value by alternative irradiation of visible light. Thus solution conductivity can be modulated by alternatively irradiation of UV and visible light. Although the reversible photo-isomerization of azobenzene group under UV/vis irradiation was the origin for the conductivity modulation, the photo-regulation aggregation of ionic liquids in water was indispensable for the maximum degree of conductivity modulation because UV irradiation could weaken, even break the aggregates of cis-isomers of the ionic liquids in aqueous solution.

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Mar 2018, accepted on 07 Apr 2018 and first published on 09 Apr 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01617H
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    A reversible conductivity modulation of azobenzene-based ionic liquids in aqueous solutions by UV/Vis light

    Z. Li, X. Yuan, Y. Feng, Y. Chen, Y. Zhao, H. Wang, Q. Xu and J. Wang, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01617H

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