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Issue 2, 2014
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Taking orders from light: progress in photochromic bio-materials

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Photochromic materials are a family of compounds which undergo photo-reversible transformations between two different isomers with distinct physical and chemical properties. Most smart photochromic materials have been exploited in research areas such as electro-optical functional materials, while recently their applications have extended to novel bio-materials. Biological systems, such as tissue/cellular imaging, nucleotides, peptides, ion channels, etc., have emerged as a revolutionary research frontier for photochromic materials since both covalent coupling and non-covalent interactions with bio-molecules have been achieved. This review commences with a brief description of exciting progress in this field, and describes strategies for using photochromic functional molecules from bio-sensing and cell imaging to optical manipulation of bio-macromolecules (nucleotides, peptides, ion channels, GFP, etc.). Further development of these photo-switches as well as remaining challenges are also discussed and put in prospect.

Graphical abstract: Taking orders from light: progress in photochromic bio-materials

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The article was received on 23 May 2013, accepted on 17 Jul 2013 and first published on 13 Sep 2013

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3MH00031A
Mater. Horiz., 2014,1, 169-184

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    Taking orders from light: progress in photochromic bio-materials

    J. Zhang, J. Wang and H. Tian, Mater. Horiz., 2014, 1, 169
    DOI: 10.1039/C3MH00031A

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