Azo-dye-doped liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are known to show a strong photomechanical response. We report on experiments that suggest that photothermal heating is the underlying mechanism in surface-constrained geometry. In particular, we use optical interferometry to probe the length change of the material and direct temperature measurements to determine heating. LCEs with various dopants and optical density were used to study the individual mechanisms. In the high dye-doped limit, most of the light is absorbed near the entry surface, which causes a local strain from photothermal heating and a nonlocal strain from thermal diffusion. The results of our research on the microscopic mechanisms of the photomechanical response can be applied to designing photomechanical materials for actuating/sensing devices, the potential basis of smart structures.
- Perot Wave-Guide,
- Polymer Fibers
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/peter_palffy-muhoray/8/