The contribution of intermolecular forces to phototropic actuation of liquid crystalline elastomers†
Photomechanical effects in liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) functionalized with photochromic moieties, such as azobenzene, have been widely studied. This prior work has demonstrated that isothermal, photoinduced (e.g. phototropic) disruption of order via isomerization of azobenzene affects the anisotropic chain configurations of the polymer network. Here, we examine the contribution of the strength of intermolecular interactions between polymer chains in the LCE to both the thermotropic and phototropic response. By incorporating liquid crystalline monomers with reduced aromatic content, both the temperature and irradiation conditions to induce mechanical response are reduced.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Polymer Chemistry Pioneering Investigators 2021