Modeling the Mechanisms of the Photomechanical Response of a Nematic Liquid Crystal Elastomer

Publication Title

Journal of the Optical Society of America B-Optical Physics

Publication Date


Document Type





molekular-statistische theorie, perot wave-guide, kristallinflussigen phase, network actuators, light, devices, route


Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Recent studies of azo-dye-doped liquid crystal elastomers show a strong photomechanical response. We report on models that predict experimental results that suggest photothermal heating is the dominant mechanism in a planar constrained geometry. We compare our models with experiments to determine key material parameters, which are used to predict the dynamical response as a function of intensity. We show that a local strain from photothermal heating and a nonlocal strain from thermal diffusion is responsible for the observed length changes over time. This work both elucidates the fundamental mechanisms and provides input for the design of photomechanical optical devices, which have been shown to have the appropriate properties for making smart materials.


This paper was published in the Journal of the Optical Society of America B and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/JOSAB.28.002134. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.