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J Chem Phys. 2011 Jul 28;135(4):044901. doi: 10.1063/1.3614499.

Opposite photo-induced deformations in azobenzene-containing polymers with different molecular architecture: molecular dynamics study.

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  • 1Institute for Condensed Matter Physics of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 1, Svientsitskii Str., 79011 Lviv, Ukraine. iln@icmp.lviv.ua


Photo-induced deformations in azobenzene-containing polymers (azo-polymers) are central to a number of applications, such as optical storage and fabrication of diffractive elements. The microscopic nature of the underlying opto-mechanical coupling is yet not clear. In this study, we address the experimental finding that the scenario of the effects depends on molecular architecture of the used azo-polymer. Typically, opposite deformations in respect to the direction of light polarization are observed for liquid crystalline and amorphous azo-polymers. In this study, we undertake molecular dynamics simulations of two different models that mimic these two types of azo-polymers. We employ hybrid force field modeling and consider only trans-isomers of azobenzene, represented as Gay-Berne sites. The effect of illumination on the orientation of the chromophores is considered on the level of orientational hole burning and emphasis is given to the resulting deformation of the polymer matrix. We reproduce deformations of opposite sign for the two models being considered here and discuss the relevant microscopic mechanisms in both cases.

© 2011 American Institute of Physics

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