Synthesis of Possible Near-Infrared Photo Responsive Materials

Student Author(s)

Bradley Van Valkenburg

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Matthew Smith

Document Type


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Photo responsive materials are materials that undergo light induced mechanical deformation via photochemical or photothermal effects. These materials have potential for use as wireless actuators or micro-positioners. However, typical light responsive materials can be difficult to synthesize and are often actuated by damaging UV light, which can limit their uses. Benzocyclobutene(BCB) derivatives have shown great potential as flexible units enabling, in some cases, large deformations in response to photo-thermal stimulus. BCB is able to covalently bond with itself to form dibenzocyclooctadiene which can experience conformational changes when heated. In order to explore BCB based materials, we have synthesized an amorphous polymer (PMA-BCB) from meth acrylate and BCB comonomers following standard literature procedures. Based on established literature we have also synthesized liquid crystal-graphene oxide doped, poly(vinyl alcohol) films as more ordered control materials to compare with our PMA-PCB materials. Moving forward, we wish to synthesize 2 or 3 other rod-like molecules with BCB units that can be easily polymerized and made into films which will be tested for mechanical and photomechanical properties.

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