Photochromic and photomechanical responses of an amorphous diarylethene-based polymer: a spectroscopic ellipsometry investigation of ultrathin films†
This work deals with very thin (14–40 nm) films of a polyester containing diarylethene units in the main chain spin cast on a silicon wafer. By irradiation with UV light the colourless form turns blue due to the appearance of a strong absorption band centred at about 600 nm. The coloured state is thermally stable and the backward conversion can be triggered with visible light. Comparison of broadband (245–1700 nm) spectroscopic ellipsometry data with simulations based on an isotropic, Kramers–Kronig consistent, multiple-resonance model allowed us to determine the complex index of refraction ñ of the film in its blue and colourless forms. The refractive index of the blue phase neatly exceeds that of the transparent form for wavelengths in the NIR. In particular, out of resonance, at λ ∼ 1700 nm, ΔRe(ñ) ∼ 0.05. Parallel to the ΔRe(ñ) increase, the analysis of ellipsometry data suggests a decrease of the film thickness (about 1.5%) during the transition from the open (transparent) to the closed (coloured) form.