Superelasticity is a type of elastic response to an applied external force, caused by a phase transformation. Actuation of materials is also an elastic response to external stimuli such as light and heat. Although both superelasticity and actuation are deformations resulting from stimulus-induced stress, there is a phenomenological difference between the two with respect to whether force is an input or an output. Here, we report that a molecular crystal manifests superelasticity during photo-actuation under light irradiation. The crystal exhibits stepwise twisted actuation due to two effects, photoisomerization and photo-triggered phase transition, and the actuation behavior is simulated based on a dynamic multi-layer model. The simulation, in turn, reveals how the photoisomerization and phase transition progress in the crystal, indicating superelasticity induced by modest stress due to the formation of photoproducts. This work provides not only a successful simulation of stepwise twisted actuation, but also to the best of our knowledge the first indication of superelasticity induced by light.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 化学 (全般)