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Crystalline Acylhydrazone Photoswitches with Multiple Mechanical Responses

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posted on 22.03.2019, 00:00 by Poonam Gupta, Tamas Panda, Suryanarayana Allu, Silpisikha Borah, Anamika Baishya, Anilkumar Gunnam, Ashwini Nangia, Panče Naumov, Naba K. Nath
The advancement of our understanding of stimuli-responsive molecular crystals has led to the realization that they hold great yet unexplored potential as adaptive materials. Although molecular crystals that exhibit a single mechanical response to a single input stimulus are now abundant, crystals that are capable of response to multiple stimuli are rather scarce. Here we report two photoswitchable acylhydrazone derivatives, Ac-1 and Ac-2, which respond to light as well as to mechanical force. Upon application of localized mechanical stress, the anhydrous (Ac-1a) and monohydrate (Ac-1h) crystals of Ac-1 undergo plastic shearing deformation and bending, whereas monohydrate crystals of Ac-2 undergo elastic deformation. When they are exposed to UV light, crystals of Ac-1h and Ac-2 undergo photoinduced bending; on the other hand, crystals of Ac-1a and thicker crystals of Ac-2 exhibit photosalient effect (light-induced leaping). It is demonstrated that the synergistic action of multiple stimuli (UV light and force) elicits enhanced mechanical response, and this strategy could be employed in the future to increase the efficacy of single crystal actuators.