A new opto-mechanical effect in solids

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jul 2;87(1):015501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.87.015501. Epub 2001 Jun 15.


We propose that large, reversible shape changes in solids, of between 10%-400%, can be induced optically by photoisomerizing monodomain nematic elastomers. Empirical and molecular analysis of shape change and its relation to thermal effects is given along with a simple model of the dynamics of response. Our experiments demonstrate these effects for the first time and theory is compared qualitatively with our results.