Azobenzene Molecular Machine: Light-Induced Wringing Gel Fabricated from Asymmetric Macrogelator

To develop light-triggered wringing gels, an asymmetric macrogelator (1AZ3BP) was newly synthesized by the chemically bridging a photoisomerizable azobenzene (1AZ) molecular machine and a biphenyl-based (3BP) dendron with a 1,4-phenylenediformamide connector. 1AZ3BP was self-assembled into a layered superstructure in the bulk state, but 1AZ3BP formed a three-dimensional (3D) network organogel in solution. Upon irradiating UV light onto the 3D network organogel, the solvent of the organogel was squeezed and the 3D network was converted to the layered morphology. It was realized that the metastable 3D network organogels were fabricated mainly due to the nanophase separation in solution. UV isomerization of 1AZ3BP provided sufficient molecular mobility to form strong hydrogen bonds for the construction of the stable layered superstructure. The light-triggered wringing gels can be smartly applied in remote-controlled generators, liquid storages, and sensors.