Light-directed alignment, surface morphing and related processes: recent trends
The immense potential of light responsive polymer materials toward technological applications in photonics, mechanics and micro-fabrication has been attracting increasing attention from both materials chemists and physicists. Light can render multifold stimuli to materials via electronic excitation reflecting the directional wave properties at high spatio-temporal resolutions. Due to recent developments in synthesis, polymerization and materialization procedures, the opportunities of photoresponsive design are becoming more and more diversified, resulting in the creation of a wide variety of new photofunctions. Very often, serendipitous phenomena are found, which further facilitate streams of research. When liquid crystalline materials are employed, strongly cooperative events take place, providing attractive non-linear processes. This article introduces very recent topics in these fields mostly focusing on new trends in photo-directed alignment, surface morphing in polymer thin films, and photo-induced motion and deformation of small objects.