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Circularly Polarized Light with Sense and Wavelengths To Regulate Azobenzene Supramolecular Chirality in Optofluidic Medium

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journal contribution
posted on 28.08.2017, 00:00 by Laibing Wang, Lu Yin, Wei Zhang, Xiulin Zhu, Michiya Fujiki
Circularly polarized light (CPL) as a massless physical force causes absolute asymmetric photosynthesis, photodestruction, and photoresolution. CPL handedness has long been believed to be the determining factor in the resulting product’s chirality. However, product chirality as a function of the CPL handedness, irradiation wavelength, and irradiation time has not yet been studied systematically. Herein, we investigate this topic using achiral polymethacrylate carrying achiral azobenzene as micrometer-size aggregates in an optofluidic medium with a tuned refractive index. Azobenzene chirality with a high degree of dissymmetry ratio (±1.3 × 10–2 at 313 nm) was generated, inverted, and switched in multiple cycles by irradiation with monochromatic incoherent CPL (313, 365, 405, and 436 nm) for 20 s using a weak incoherent light source (≈ 30 μW·cm–2). Moreover, the optical activity was retained for over 1 week in the dark. Photoinduced chirality was swapped by the irradiating wavelength, regardless of whether the CPL sense was the same. This scenario is similar to the so-called Cotton effect, which was first described in 1895. The tandem choice of both CPL sense and its wavelength was crucial for azobenzene chirality. Our experimental proof and theoretical simulation should provide new insight into the chirality of CPL-controlled molecules, supramolecules, and polymers.

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