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J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Jul 9;136(27):9552-5. doi: 10.1021/ja5041573. Epub 2014 Jun 27.

Macroscopic photocontrol of ion-transporting pathways of a nanostructured imidazolium-based photoresponsive liquid crystal.

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Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo , Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.


The photocontrol of the macroscopic alignment of nanostructured 2D ion-transporting pathways is described. The uniplanar homogeneous alignment of the thermotropic smectic (Sm) liquid-crystalline (LC) phase has been successfully achieved via photoinduced reorientation of the azobenzene groups of the imidazolium-based LC material. The ionic layers of the Sm LC phase are macroscopically oriented perpendicular to the surface of the glass substrate. The oriented films show anisotropic ion conduction in the Sm phase. This is the first example of the macroscopic photoalignment of ion-conductive LC arrays. Reversible switching of homeotropic and homogeneous alignments has also been achieved for the LC material. These materials and the alignment methodology may be useful in the development of ion-based circuits and memory devices.

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