Digital photoprogramming of liquid-crystal superstructures featuring intrinsic chiral photoswitches

Zhigang Zheng, Honglong Hu, Zhipeng Zhang, Binghui Liu, Mengqi Li, Da Hui Qu, He Tian, Wei Hong Zhu*, Ben L. Feringa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Dynamic patterning of soft materials in a fully reversible and programmable manner with light enables applications in anti-counterfeiting, displays and labelling technology. However, this is a formidable challenge due to the lack of suitable chiral molecular photoswitches. Here, we report the development of a unique intrinsic chiral photoswitch with broad chirality modulation to achieve digitally controllable, selectable and extractable multiple stable reflection states. An anti-counterfeiting technique, embedded with diverse microstructures, featuring colour-tunability, erasability, reversibility, multi-stability and viewing-angle dependency of pre-recorded patterns, is established with these photoresponsive superstructures. This strategy allows dynamic helical transformation from the molecular and supramolecular to the macroscopic level using light-activated intrinsic chirality, demonstrating the practicality of photoprogramming photonics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages12
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2022

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