Unidirectional rotation of cholesteric droplets driven by UV-light irradiation†
We investigated the novel photo-induced dynamics of azobenzene-doped cholesteric (Ch) droplets coexisting with the isotropic (Iso) phase. When the hemispherical Ch droplets initially stuck to glass substrates were irradiated by UV-light, they were parted from the substrates due to the surface disordering caused by the photo-isomerization of azobenzene. Then, the spherical droplets floating in the Iso phase exhibited an unexpected motion – a continuous and unidirectional rotation along the light propagation direction. The rotational direction was reversed by the inversion of either the sample's chirality or the UV irradiation direction, and the rotational velocity increased with both the UV-light intensity and the concentration of the doped azobenzene, the dependences of which were described by linear and relaxation functions, respectively. We proposed a possible scenario based on Leslie's theory combining mass fluxes and torques, which well explained the photo-driven rotation of the Ch droplets.