Immobilized azobenzenes for the construction of photoresponsive materials

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150 Citations (Scopus)


The immobilization of molecular switches onto inorganic supports has recently become a hot topic as it can give rise to novel hybrid materials in which the properties of the two components are mutually enhanced. Even more attractive is the concept of "transferring" the switchable characteristics of single layers of organic molecules onto the underlying inorganic components, rendering them responsive to external stimuli as well. Of the various molecular switches studied, azobenzene (AB) has arguably attracted most attention due to its simple molecular structure, and because its "trigger" (light) is a noninvasive one, it can be delivered instantaneously, and into a precise location. In order to fully realize its potential, however, it is necessary to immobilize AB onto solid supports. It is the goal of this manuscript to comprehensively yet concisely review such hybrid systems which comprise AB forming well-defined self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on planar and curved (colloidal and nanoporous) inorganic surfaces. I discuss methods to immobilize AB derivatives onto surfaces, strategies to ensure efficient AB isomerization, ways to monitor the switching process, properties of these switchable hybrid materials, and, last but not least, their emerging applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2247-2276
Number of pages30
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Azobenzene
  • Hybrid materials
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photoswitches
  • Surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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