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Langmuir. 2006 Feb 14;22(4):1420-7.

Photophysical effects between spirobenzopyran-methyl methacrylate-functionalized colloidal particles.

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Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA.


Colloidal particles were derivatized with end-grafted polymethylmethacrylate polymer brushes containing varying concentrations of spirobenzopyran photochromic molecules. The polymers were grown from initiator-functionalized silica particles by an atom-transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). These core-shell colloids formed stable suspensions in toluene with the spirobenzopyran in its closed, nonpolar form. However, UV-induced photoswitching of the photochrome to its open, polar merocyanine isomer caused rapid aggregation. The nature of this colloidal stability transition was examined with respect to the spirobenzopyran content in the polymeric brush and solvent polarity. Turbidimetry, wettability studies, UV-vis spectroscopy, suspension rheology, SEM, and visual inspection were utilized to characterize the system photoswitchability. It was found that the system exhibiting the greatest transition in toluene was the copolymer brush composed of 20% spirobenzopyran and 80% methyl methacrylate.


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