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Impact of Backbone Rigidity on the Photomechanical Response of Glassy, Azobenzene-Functionalized Polyimides
- Wang, David H., Wie, Jeong Jae, Lee, Kyung Min, White, Timothy J., Tan, Loon-Seng
- Macromolecules 2014 v.47 no.2 pp. 659-667
- forces, glass transition temperature, polymerization, polymers, thermal stability
- Azobenzene-functionalized polyimide materials can directly transduce light into mechanical force. Here, we examine the impact of polymer backbone rigidity on the photomechanical response in a series of linear, azobenzene-functionalized polymers. The rigidity of the backbone was varied by the polymerization of five dianhydride monomers with a newly synthesized diamine (azoBPA-diamine). The azobenzene-functionalized linear polymers exhibit glass transition temperatures (Tg) ranging from 276 to 307 °C and maintain excellent thermal stability. The photomechanical response of these materials was characterized by photoinduced cantilever bending as well as direct measurement of photogenerated stress upon exposure to linearly polarized, 445 nm light. Increasing the rigidity of the polymer backbone increases the magnitude of stress that is generated but decreases the angle of cantilever deflection.