Photomechanical Materials Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

Lead PI: Greg Grason, University of Massachusetts Amherst
PI: Ryan Hayward, University of Colorado Boulder
PI: Peter Palffy-Muhoray, Kent State University
PI: Kaushik Bhattacharya, California Institute of Technology
PI: Christopher Bardeen, University of California Riverside
PI: Todd Martinez, Stanford University
PI: Javier Read de Alaniz, University of California Santa Barbara

A highly interdisciplinary MURI team that brings together expertise in theory, computation, and experiment spanning multiple length and time scales and material systems to develop a fundamental understanding of how materials can be designed to effectively convert light energy into mechanical work, deformation, and changes in properties.

This work was supported by the office of Naval Research through the MURI on Photomechanical Material Systems (ONR N00014-18-1-2624).



Stricker, F., D. M. Sanchez, U. Raucci, N. D. Dolinski, M. S. Zayars, J. Meisner, C. J. Hawker, T. J. Martínez, J. Read de Alaniz. "A multi-stage single photochrome systems for controlled photoswitching responses. Nature Chemistry (2022):

Sukolsak, S., H. Weir, U. Raucci, T. J. Martínez. "Bringing chemical structures to life with augmented reality, machine learning, and quantum chemistry." The Journal of Chemical Physics 156 (2022):

Raucci, U., H. Weir, C. Bannwarth, D. M. Sanchez, T. J. Martínez. "Chiral photochemistry of achiral molecules." Nature Communications 13 (2022):,

Chen, Y., A. S. Kuenstler, R. C. Hayward, L. Jin. "Formation of rolls from liquid crystal elastomer bistrips." Soft Matter 21 (2022):


Bailey, S. J., F. Stricker, E. Hopkins, M. Z. Wilson, J. Read de Alaniz. "Shining Light on Cyclopentadienone-Norbornadiene Diels-Alder Adducts to Enable Photoinduced Click Chemistry with Cyclopentadiene." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 13, issue 30 (2021): 35422-35430.

Ruobing, B., E. Ocegueda, K. Bhattacharya. "Photochemical-induced phase transitions in photoactive semicrystalline polymers." Physical Review E 103 (2021):,

Michèle, C., F. Stricker, S. Ulrich, M. Sroda, N. Bruns, L. F. Boesel, J. Read de Alaniz. "Promoting the Furan Ring-Opening Reaction to Access New Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts with Hexafluoroisoproponal." Angewandte Chemie International Edition 60 (2021): 10219-10227.,

Fai, T. G., J. M. Taylor, E. G. Virga, X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Leaky cell model of hard spheres." The Journal of Chemical Physics 154, issue 10 (2021):,

Gately, T. J., W. Li, S. H. Mostafavi, C. J. Bardeen. "Reversible Adhesion Switching Using Spiropyran Photoisomerization in a High Glass Transition Temperature Polymer." Macromolecules 54, issue 20 (2021): 9319-9326.

Gately, T. J., W. Sontising, C. J. Easley, I. Islam, R. O. Al-Kaysi, G. J. O. Beran, C. J. Bardeen. "Effect of halogen substitution of reversible photomechanical crystals based on 9-anthracenecarboxylic acid." CrystEngComm 34 (2021):

Guo, T., X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Impedance matching in an elastic actuator." Soft Matter 17 (2021): 4191-4194,].,

Guo, T., X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Light propagation in cholesteric liquid crystals: the role of chirality." Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals 713, issue 1 (2021):,

Guo, T., X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Not the garden hose instability: Wavelength selection in a buckling garden hose." American Journal of Physics 89, issue 6 (2021):

Guo, T., X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "The Freedericksz Transition in a Spatially Varying Magnetic Field." Crystals 11, issue 5 (2021):,,

Liu, F., M. Filatov, T. J. Martínez. "Analytical derivatives of the individual state energies in ensemble density functional theory. II. Implementation on graphical processing units (GPUs)." The Journal of Chemical Physics 154, issue 10 (2021):,

Lui, B. F., C. J. Bardeen. "Using Small Molecule Absorbers to Create a Photothermal Wax Motor." Small (2021):

Morimoto, K., D. Kitagawa, F. Tong, K. Chalek, L. J. Mueller, C. J. Bardeen, S. Kobatake. "Correlating Reaction Dynamics and Size Change during the Photomechanical Transformation of 9-Methylanthracene Single Crystals." Angewandte Chemie International Edition 61, issue 2 (2021):

Raucci, U., A. Valentini, E. Pieri, H. Weir, S. Seritan, T. J. Martínez. "Voice-controlled quantum chemistry." Nature Computational Science 1 (2021): 42-45.

Sanchez, D. M., U. Raucci, T. J. Martínez. "In Silico Discovery of Multistep Chemistry Initiated by a Conical IntersectionL The Challenging Case of Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts." Journal of the American Chemical Society 143, issue 48 (2021): 20015-20021.

Svanidze, A., T. Guo, X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Light-induced stress and work in photomechanical materials." Physical Review E 103, issue 5 (2021):,

Taylor, J. M., T. G. Fai, E. G. Virga, X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Cavity Volume and Free Energy in Many-Body Systems." Journal of Nonlinear Science 31 (2021):


Aldaz, C. R., T. J. Martínez, P. M. Zimmerman. "The Mechanics of the Bicycle Pedal Photoisomerization in Crystalline cis,cis-1,4-Diphenyl-1,3-butadiene." The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 124, issue 43 (2020): 8897-8906.,

Bailey, S. J., E. H. Discekici, S. M. Barbon, S. N. Nguyen, C. J. Hawker, J. Read de Alaniz. "Norbornadiene Chain-End Functional Polymers as Stable, Readily Available Precursors to Cyclopentadiene Derivatives." Macromolecules 53, issue 12 (2020): 4917-4924.

Bai, R., K. Bhattacharya. "Photomechanical coupling in photoactive nematic elastomers." Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 144 (2020):,

Bai, R., Y. S. Teh, K. Bhattacharya. "Collective behavior in the kinetics and equilibrium of solid-state photoreaction." Extreme Mechanics Letters 43 (2020):

Chalek, K. R., X. Dong, F. Tong, R. A. Kudla, L. Zhu, A. D. Gill, W. Xu, C. Yang, J. D. Hartman, A. Magalhães, R. O. Al-Kaysi, R. C. Hayward, R. J. Hooley, G. J. O. Beran, C. J. Bardeen, L. J. Mueller. "Bridging photochemistry and photomechanics with NMR crystallography: the molecular basis for the macroscopic expansion of an anthracene ester nanorod." Chemical Science (2020):,

Easley, C. J., F. Tong, X. Dong, R. O. Al-Kaysi, C. J. Bardeen. "Using light intensity to control reaction to kinetics and reversibility in photochemical crystals." Chemical Science 11 (2020): 9852-9862.,

Fontana, J., P. Palffy-Muhoray. "St. Petersburg Paradox and Failure Probability." Physical Review Letters 124, issue 24 (2020):,

Korner, K., A. S. Kuenstler, R. C. Hayward, K. Bhattacharya. "A nonlinear beam model of photomotile structures." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11, no. 18 (2020): 9762-9770,,

Kuenstler, A. S., Y. Cheng, P. Bui, H. Kim, A. DeSimone, L. Jin, R. C. Hayward. "Blueprinting Photothermal Shape-Morphing of Liquid Crystal Elastomers." Advanced Materials 32, issue 17 (2020):,

Kuenstler, A. S., K. D. Clark, J. Read de Alaniz, R. C. Hayward. "Reversible Actuation via Photoisomerization-Induced Melting of a Semicrystalline Poly(Azobenzene)." ACS Macro Letters 9, issue 6 (2020): 902-909.,

Kuenstler, A. S., M. Lahikainen, H. Zhou, W. Xu, A. Priimagi, R. C. Hayward. "Reconfiguring Gaussian Curvature of Hydrogel Sheets with Photoswitchable Host-Guest Interactions." ACS Macro Letters 9, issue 8 (2020): 1172-1177.,

Lansakara, T. I., F. Tong, C. J. Bardeen, A. V. Tivanski. "Mechanical Properties and Photomechanical Fatigue of Macro- and Nanodimensional Diarylethene Molecular Crystals." Nano Letters 20, issue 9 (2020): 6744-6749.

Lee, J., M. M. Sroda, Y. Kwon, S. El-Arid, S. Seshradi, L. K. Gockowski, E. W. Hawkes, M. T. Valentine, J. Read de Alaniz. "Tunable Photothermal Actuation Enabled by Photoswitching of Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 12, issue 48 (2020): 54075-54082.

Martinez, D.M., U. Raucci, K. N. Ferreras, T. J. MartÍnez. "Putting Photochemical Switches to Work: An Ab Initio Multiple Spawning Study of Donor-Accepted Stenhouse Adducts." The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 11, issue 18 (2020): 7901-7907.,

Oh, S.-W., T. Guo, A. S. Kuenstler, R. C. Hayward, P. Palffy-Muhoray, X. Zheng. "Measuing the five elastic constants of a nematic liquied crystal elastomer." Liquid Crystals (2020):

Seshradi, S., L. F. Gockowski, J. Lee, M. Sroda, M. E. Helgeson, J. Read de Alaniz, M. T. Valentine. "Self-regulating photochemical Rayleigh-Bénard convection using a highly-absorbing organic photoswitch." Nature Communications 11 (2020):,

Sroda, M., F. Stricker, J. A. Peterson, A. Bernal, J. Read de Alaniz. "Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts: Exploring the Effects of Ionic Character." Chemistry - A European Journal 27 (2020):

Tong, F., W. Xu, T. Guo, B. F. Lui, R. C. Hayward, P. Palffy-Muhoray, R. O. Al-Kaysi, C. J. Bardeen. "Photomechanical molecular crystals and nanowire assemblies based on the [2+2] photodimerization of a phenylbutadiene derivative." Journal of Materials Chemistry C 8 (2020): 5036-5044,

Yu, J. K., C. Bannwarth, R. Liang, E. G. Hohenstein, T. J. Martínez. "Nondiabatic Dynamics Simulation of the Wavelength-Dependent Photochemistry of Azobenzene Excited to the nπ* and ππ* Excited States." Journal of the American Chemical Society 142, issue 49 (2020): 20680-20690.,


Xinning, D., F. Tong, K. M. Hanson, R. O. Al-Kaysi, D. Kitagawa, S. Kobatake, C. J. Bardeens. "Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Photon-Powered Actuators Based on Aligned Diarylethene Nanocrystals." Chemistry of Materials 31, issue 3 (2019): 1016-1022,

Tianyi, G., X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Light intensity as mechanical potential: a symmetry-based approach." Liquid Crystals 46, issue 13-14 (2019): 2094-2101.

Tianyi, G., X. Zheng, P. Palffy-Muhoray. "Surface anchoring energy of cholesteric liquid crystals." Liquid Crystals 47, issue 4 (2019): 477-480.,

Takahiro, K., X. Shu, V. M. Lau, D. Aoki, T. J. Martínez, J. S. Moore, H. Otsuka. "Multicolor Mechanochromism of a Polymer/Silica Composite with Dual Distinct Mechanophores." Journal of the American Chemical Society 141, issue 5 (2019): 1898-1902.

Kuenstler, A. S., R. C. Hayward. "Light-inducted shape morphing of thin films." Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science 40 (2019): 70-86.,

Kuenstler, A. S., H. Kim, R. C. Hayward. "Liquid Crystal Elastomer Waveguide Actuators." Advanced Materials 31, issue 24 (2019):

Lui, B. F., N. T. Tierce, F. Tong, M. M. Sroda, H. Lu, J. Read de Alaniz, C. J. Bardeen. "Unusual concentration dependence of the photoisomerization reaction in donor-acceptor Stenhouse adducts." Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 6:

Mostafavi, S. H., W. Li, K. D. Clark, F. Stricker, J. Read de Alaniz, C. J. Bardeen. "Photoinduced Deadhesion of a Polymer Film Using a Photochromic Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adduct." Macromolecules 52, issue 16 (2019): 6311-6317.

Hui, N., J. L. Self, A. S. Kuenstler, R. C. Hayward, J. Read de Alaniz. "Multiaddressable Photochromic Architectures: From Molecules to Materials." Advanced Optical Materials 7 (2019):,

St. Amant, A. H., E. H. Discekici, S. J. Bailey, M. S. Zayas, J.-A. Song, S. L. Shankel, S. N. Nguyen, M. W. Bates, A. Anastasaki, C. J. Hawker, J. Read de Alaniz. “Norbornadienes: Robust and Scalable Building Blocks for Cascade ‘Click’ Coupling of High Molecular Weight Polymers.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 141, issue 34 (2019): 13619–24.


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