Photoresponsive liquid crystalline polymeric materials

D. Liu, C.L. Oosten, van, C.W.M. Bastiaansen, D.J. Broer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In-situ photopolymerization of liquid crystalline (LC) monomers has proven to be a valuable technique for the formation of well-ordered polymer networks. Their anisotropic properties led to a variety of applications in optics, electronics and mechanics. The use of light to initiate polymerization enables lithographic patterning. In addition the LC behavior enables formation of complex morphologies on molecular level. Controlling the director profile of an LC network film in transversal direction gives geometrical morphing upon minor changes in order parameter. Examples of suited profiles of molecular orientation are twisted or splayed director configurations tied up in the network configuration. Reversible order parameter changes can be induced by light using the photo-activated trans-cis isomerization of a copolymerized azobenzene monomer. This is demonstrated in photoresponsive cilia inkjet printed on a substrate. The cilia possess a splayed molecular organization and show well-controlled bending when addressed by light. We demonstrate a patterned film with alternating helicoidal and perpendicular-uniaxial molecular orientation. When applied as coating on glass, photo-activation in this case leads to a dynamically switching surface topology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-332
JournalAdvances in Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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