Performance of Composite Glass–Diarylethene Crystal Photomechanical Actuator Membranes
Hybrid organic–inorganic composites based on organic photochromic crystals embedded in inorganic templates provide a new approach to photomechanical materials. Diarylethene (DAE) nanowire crystals grown in Al2O3 membranes have exhibited reversible photoinduced bending and lifting [Dong, X., Chem. Mater. 2019, 31, 1016−1022]. In this paper, the hybrid approach is extended to porous SiO2 membranes. Despite the different template material (SiO2 instead of Al2O3) and much larger channels (5 μm diameter instead of 0.2 μm diameter), similar photomechanical behavior is observed for this new class of organic–inorganic hybrid actuators. The ability to reuse individual glass templates across different DAE filling cycles allows us to show that the DAE filling step is crucial for determining the mechanical work done by the bending template. The bending curvature also depends quadratically on the template thickness, in good agreement with theory. The light-induced bending can be repeated for up to 150 cycles without loss of performance, suggesting good fatigue resistance. The results in this paper demonstrate that the hybrid organic–inorganic approach can be extended to other host materials and template geometries. They also suggest that optimizing the organic filling and template thickness could improve the work output by an order of magnitude.
Journal or Book Title
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces