Trans-Cis Isomerization Of An Azoxybenzene Liquid Crystal
Trans-cis isomerization was investigated in a room temperature liquid crystal mixture of two azoxybenzene compounds. Experiments were performed on isolated molecules in dilute solutions and on the liquid crystal phase composed of the pure compounds. The absorption spectra of the trans and cis isomers were found to be similar to those of azobenzene compounds, as were the birefringence and order parameter of the nematic liquid crystal phase. The photo-optic properties were also similar in that irradiation by ultraviolet light caused the conversion from trans to cis isomers, while short wavelength visible light incident on these compounds resulted in the conversion from cis to trans isomers. The activation energy for thermal relaxation from the cis to trans isomer in the liquid crystal phase was determined to be ( 66 +/- 7) kJ/mole, which is less than for azobenzene in solution. While a photostationary state in a dilute solution with approximately equal numbers of trans and cis isomers was achieved, the nematic-isotropic transition of the mixture of the pure compounds decreased from 70 degrees C to room temperature with a cis concentration of only about 12%. One unusual finding was that the photostationary concentration of trans and cis isomers due to irradiation with light of a specific visible wavelength depended on the starting concentrations of the two isomers, indicating that there may be a molecular conformation that is not photo-responsive and relaxes only thermally.
D. Aronzon et al.
"Trans-Cis Isomerization Of An Azoxybenzene Liquid Crystal".