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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 2 — Jan. 19, 2009
  • pp: 716–722

Bidirectional Photoresponse of Surface Pretreated Azobenzene Liquid Crystal Polymer Networks

Uladzimir Hrozhyk, Svetlana Serak, Nelson Tabiryan, Timothy J. White, and Timothy J. Bunning  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 2, pp. 716-722 (2009)

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We report on the photodriven, polarization-controlled response of UV-pretreated azobenzene-based liquid crystal polymer networks (azo-LCN) of polydomain orientation to higher wavelength CW argon-ion laser light (Ar+) of 457–514 nm. The significant absorbance of the azo-LCN cantilever in the UV is used to form an approximately 1 μm thick cis-isomer rich skin. Subsequent exposure to the Ar+ laser drives a bidirectional bending process that is the result of two distinguishable photochemical processes. First, 457–514 nm laser light (regardless of polarization state) drives cis-trans photoisomerization of the UV-pretreated surface, restoring the order of the azobenzene liquid crystalline moieties. Mechanically, the cis-trans process results in an expansion on the exposed surface that forces the cantilever to undergo a rapid bend away from the laser source. Once a sufficient number of trans-azobenzene moieties are regenerated, continued Ar+ illumination promotes both the trans-cis and cis-trans processes enabling trans-cis-trans reorientation. In this particular system and conditions, trans-cis-trans reorientation enables polarization controlled mechanical bending of different angles towards the Ar+ source. Photomechanical responses of UV-pretreated azo-LCN demonstrate the viability of photogenerated effects in UV-rich environments such as space.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(160.3710) Materials : Liquid crystals
(160.5470) Materials : Polymers
(190.4400) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, materials
(230.3990) Optical devices : Micro-optical devices
(260.5130) Physical optics : Photochemistry

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: October 23, 2008
Revised Manuscript: December 8, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: December 23, 2008
Published: January 8, 2009

Uladzimir Hrozhyk, Svetlana Serak, Nelson Tabiryan, Timothy J. White, and Timothy J. Bunning, "Bidirectional Photoresponse of Surface Pretreated Azobenzene Liquid Crystal Polymer Networks," Opt. Express 17, 716-722 (2009)

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