Formation of photochromic spiropyran polymer brushes via surface-initiated, ring-opening metathesis polymerization: Reversible photocontrol of wetting behavior and solvent dependent morphology changes
In this article, we described a method for the formation of photochromic polymer brushes grafted from oxide surfaces using surface-initiated ring-opening rnetathesis polymerization of spiropyran-based monomers in the presence of second generation Grubbs catalyst. The growth of the polymer film, as monitored by ellipsometry and atomic force microscopy (AFM), is strongly influenced by the initial concentrations of the catalyst and monomer. as well as reaction time. These densely packed and highly smooth polymer films were successfully used as surfaces with switchable color and wettability using light as the external stimulus. The relatively nonpolar spiropyran can be switched to a polar, zwitterionic merocyanine isomer (with a larger dipole moment) using light of the appropriate wavelength. This process is reversible and can be switched back using visible light. The spiropyran-merocyanine photoinduced isomerization gives a reversible contact angle chan-e tip to 15 degrees for smooth Si/SiO2 substrate under sequential irradiation cycles with UV and visible light. This contact angle change can be amplified by complexing the merocyanine form with metal ions through the phenolate oxygen. which enhances the switching of wettability with these polymer brushes. It-radiation in the presence of cobalt(II) ions gives rise to it contact angle variation as hi h as 35 degrees. This is the largest change in photoinduced surface wettability observed for a flat Substrate. Photoisomerization in spiropyrans also yields a change in the refractive index of the film, which we have investigated using ellipsometric imaging. Lastly, morphological changes accompanying photochromism were investigated using atomic force microscopy. Significant morphological changes can only be induced in the films by irradiating in polar solvents that help to stabilize the merocyanine ring open form.