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DMI/MEMS Seminar Presented by Prof. Grace Han

Light-responsive materials hold immense potential in revolutionizing various fields including solar energy conversion and storage, recyclable catalysis, single-molecule sensing, and reversible nanomaterial assembly. These materials exhibit phase transitions, changes in solubility, and nanoscale mechanical alterations triggered by external stimuli, particularly light, through molecular-level structural changes. While the photo-switching of molecules has primarily been studied in dilute solutions, understanding this process in condensed liquid or solid environments is crucial for successful real-world applications. Currently, there is a lack of fundamental knowledge regarding the interaction between light and molecules in condensed phases, as well as the impact of photomechanical switching on intermolecular interactions.

This presentation aims to elucidate the design principles behind optically-controllable materials that integrate organic photoswitches, ranging from azobenzenes to hydrazones. Extensive exploration of various photochromic core structures and functional groups has been conducted to gain insights into the structure-property relationship of these stimuli-responsive material systems. Additionally, the talk will delve into the application of photo-controlled materials in solar photon and thermal energy storage, as well as sustainable catalysis.

Contact: Liana Igescu