Interpenetrating polymer networks of liquid-crystalline azobenzene polymers and poly(dimethylsiloxane) as photomobile materials†
We developed photomobile polymer materials with interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) structures composed of crosslinked liquid-crystalline azobenzene polymer (PAzo) and poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). By introducing PDMS into a PAzo template network, IPN was formed without disturbing the alignment of mesogens in the PAzo network. The films showed macroscopic bending behavior upon irradiation with UV and visible light. Although the IPN film showed a phase separated structure, the bending speed was significantly enhanced compared with the pristine film of PAzo, thanks to the soft nature of PDMS. The present method of preparing IPNs can be a promising approach to combine PAzo with various polymers and enhance the mechanical and photoresponsive properties.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Liquid Crystal Elastomers