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The potential of photoactive materials to manipulate surface topography.

Researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science at Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering explored how photoactive materials can manipulate surface topographies, creating opportunities for various applications such as designing stretchable electronic and advanced optical devices.

The research aims to characterise the photoinduced movement on the topmost layer of these complexes and study how it is successfully transferred to the substrate, providing insights into the efficiency of wrinkle erasure based on various factors. The study focuses on the interaction of different photoactive molecules, such as disperse yellow 7 (DY7), 4,4′-dihydroxyazobenzene (DHAB), and 4-hydroxy-4′-dimethylaminoazobenzene (OH-azo-DMA), within supramolecular polymer-azo complexes. 

Fig 1: -Schematic of azopolymer/PDMS double layer: a) preparation by spin-coating azopolymer on BODIPY-containing PDMS, b) wrinkle generation by external stretching (red arrows), and c) wrinkle erasure by 488 nm laser beam from confocal microscope while stretching.
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The characteristic erasure times of wrinkles are assessed using an image processing algorithm, enabling quantitative comparison of wrinkling erasure efficiency between different materials. The research establishes that the efficiency of wrinkle erasure is significantly influenced by factors such as chromophore concentration, molecular weight of the polymer backbone, and the specific chromophore component used in the supramolecular complexes.

Henniker Plasma's HPT-100 Plasma Cleaner played an important role in the experimental setup by ensuring the cleanliness and proper surface treatment of the PDMS substrates. Plasma cleaning for 1 minute at 50W power was performed using the HPT-100 Plasma Cleaner to prepare the PDMS substrates for spin-coating the azopolymer solutions. This step contributed to the successful adhesion and interaction between the photoactive layers and the PDMS substrate, facilitating effective research and accurate observations.

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For further details on the research findings and the role of Henniker Plasma's HPT-100 Plasma Cleaner in enabling effective experimentation, readers are referred to the original paper published on April 11, 2023, available through the provided DOI link.

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