Chiral power change upon photoisomerization in twisted nematic liquid crystals

Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2015 May 5;142:94-100. doi: 10.1016/j.saa.2015.01.072. Epub 2015 Feb 7.


In this work, we use the photoisomerization of azobenzenes, a phenanthrospirooxazine, and a fulgide in a twisted nematic liquid crystalline phase to change the chiral twisting power of the system. The changes are probed by the rotatory power of linearly polarized light. Time resolved and steady state experiments are carried out. The chiral change and the photoisomerization process have similar characteristic recovery times and activation energy, thus probing that the change is induced by the modification in the chemical composition of the photochromic dopant system. The amplitude of the light twisting power change correlates with the order change in the liquid crystal (LC) but not with the modification in the absorption characteristics of the system. This indicates that the driving force of the chiral change is the microscopic order modification in the LC phase that affects the helical pitch of the phase.

Keywords: Azobenzenes; Chiral power change; Liquid crystals; Photochromism; Photoisomerization; Spirooxazine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azo Compounds / chemistry*
  • Isomerism
  • Light
  • Liquid Crystals / chemistry*
  • Phase Transition
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Thermodynamics


  • Azo Compounds
  • azobenzene