Printing in color with photoswitchable polymers

Printing in color with photoswitchable polymers

Now, Haifeng Yu and his colleagues from Peking University have introduced a photo-responsive element — an azopolymer — that allows the imprinting of nanopatterns in a novel, room-temperature lithographic process.

The team’s new photosensitive polymer contains a structure called azobenzene, which switches between two possible conformations — termed trans and cis — when irradiated with light. Switching between the two leads to a straight or bent configuration, and when attached to a polymer backbone causes mechanical changes, such a hardening, in the polymer.

During the fabrication process, the azopolymer layer was first liquefied using UV light and then used to coat a flexible plastic surface. 

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