Photoactivated reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT)-based dynamic covalent chemistry is incorporated into liquid crystalline networks (LCNs) to facilitate spatiotemporal control of alignment, domain structure, and birefringence. The RAFT-based bond exchange process, which leads to stress relaxation, is used in a variety of conditions, to enable the LCN to achieve a near-equilibrium structure and orientation upon irradiation. Once formed, and in the absence of subsequent triggering of the RAFT process, the (dis)order in the LCN and its associated birefringence are evidenced at all temperatures. Using this approach, the birefringence, including the formation of spatially patterned birefringent elements and surface-active topographical features, is selectively tuned by adjusting the light dose, temperature, and cross-linking density.
- adaptable networks
- liquid crystalline networks
- photoinduced plasticity
- reversible-addition fragmentation chain-transfer