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Issue 8, 2014
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Photo-mechanical azobenzene cocrystals and in situ X-ray diffraction monitoring of their optically-induced crystal-to-crystal isomerisation

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Abstract

We demonstrate the first supramolecular cocrystallisation strategy to generate crystalline azobenzene materials with a range of photo-mechanical and thermochemical properties: from those that exhibit isomerisation without any change in crystal shape to those that undergo a crystal-to-crystal cistrans isomerisation accompanied by large scale bending. The latter permitted the use of variable temperature single crystal X-ray diffraction for the first in situ monitoring of structural changes behind the cistrans isomerisation in the solid-state, which revealed a topotactic process mediated by an amorphous phase. While the design of photo-mechanical azobenzene solids has so far focused on polymer matrices and gels, the herein presented cocrystallisation approach represents the first methodology for generating new photo-mechanical azobenzene crystals from a limited number of photo-active building blocks, opening a route to potential bio-mimetic and light-harvesting materials based on crystalline solids.

Graphical abstract: Photo-mechanical azobenzene cocrystals and in situ X-ray diffraction monitoring of their optically-induced crystal-to-crystal isomerisation

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
04 Apr 2014
Accepted
14 May 2014
First published
20 May 2014

Chem. Sci., 2014,5, 3158-3164
Article type
Edge Article
Author version available

Photo-mechanical azobenzene cocrystals and in situ X-ray diffraction monitoring of their optically-induced crystal-to-crystal isomerisation

O. S. Bushuyev, T. C. Corkery, C. J. Barrett and T. Friščić, Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 3158
DOI: 10.1039/C4SC00987H

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