Light Induced Structures in Liquid Crystalline Side-Chain Polymers with Azobenzene Functional Groups03/22/2001
We applied ellipsometry to study the distribution of azobenzene fragments in the films of two types of comblike polymers with azobenzene moieties in the side chains before and after ultraviolet ~UV! light irradiation. The polymer with an alkyl chain at the end of the azobenzene fragment forms structures with preferred homeotropic alignment of the fragments. Irradiation of this polymer with nonpolarized UV light at normal incidence induces a homeotropic alignment of azobenzene fragments. Oblique irradiation induces tilted structures. Polarized UV light irradiation at normal beam incidence induces biaxial structures with a fanlike distribution of azobenzene fragments and preferably out-of-plane alignment. The polymer with polar nitro group at the end of the azobenzene moiety shows preferential in-plane orientation. The degenerate in-plane alignment is retained for normal irradiation with nonpolarized UV light. Excitation with polarized light provides highly ordered in-plane alignment of the azobenzene fragments perpendicular to the UV light polarization. Re-orientation of the fragments under a second UV exposure with orthogonal polarization involves out-of-plane rotation of the fragments.