Mechanically responsive crystals have been increasingly explored, mainly based on photoisomerization. However, photoisomerization has some disadvantages for crystal actuation, such as a slow actuation speed, no actuation of thick crystals, and a narrow wavelength range. Here we report photothermally driven fast-bending actuation and simulation of a salicylideneaniline derivative crystal with an o-Amino substituent in enol form. Under ultraviolet (UV) light irradiation, these thin (<20 μm) crystals bent but the thick (>40 μm) crystals did not due to photoisomerization; in contrast, thick crystals bent very quickly (in several milliseconds) due to the photothermal effect, even by visible light. Finally, 500 Hz high-frequency bending was achieved by pulsed UV laser irradiation. The generated photothermal energy was estimated based on the photodynamics using femtosecond transient absorption. Photothermal bending is caused by a nonsteady temperature gradient in the thickness direction due to the heat conduction of photothermal energy generated near the crystal surface. The temperature gradient was calculated based on the one-dimensional nonsteady heat conduction equation to simulate photothermally driven crystal bending successfully. Most crystals that absorb light have their own photothermal effects. It is expected that the creation and design of actuation of almost all crystals will be possible via the photothermal effect, which cannot be realized by photoisomerization, and the potential and versatility of crystals as actuation materials will expand in the near future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry