Photoresponsive Liquid Crystals (PhotoLC)
Research project supported by The Danish Council for Independent Research | Technology and Production Sciences (project period: 1.11.2012 – 31.1.2016)
Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen
This project aims at developing new photoresponsive liquid crystals based on molecules that undergo an electronic and geometrical change upon irradiation. The dihydroazulene (DHA) photoswitch is an example of one such molecule. It contains two rings fused together, and upon irradiation at a specific wavelength, one of these rings is opened and a so-called vinylheptafulvene (VHF) molecule is formed. This change is accompanied by a color change from yellow to red. VHF is in turn thermally converted to DHA. By suitable functionalization of the DHA/VHF system or by using suitable derivatives as dopants in liquid crystal host materials, we hope to obtain advanced photoresponsive liquid crystals, which may find potential applications as smart displays, surface coatings, data storage materials, or light/heat-sensitive sensors. Synthesis and photolysis studies will be carried out in Copenhagen, while liquid crystalline properties will be investigated in collaboration with Prof. John W. Goodby and Dr. Stephen J. Cowling at University of York, UK.