Self-Assembled Hierarchical Superstructures from the Benzene-1,3,5-Tricarboxamide Supramolecules for the Fabrication of Remote-Controllable Actuating and Rewritable Films

The well-defined hierarchical superstructures constructed by the self-assembly of programmed supramolecules can be organized for the fabrication of remote-controllable actuating and rewritable films. To realize this concept, we newly designed and synthesized a benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide (BTA) derivative (abbreviated as BTA-3AZO) containing photoresponsive azobenzene (AZO) mesogens on the periphery of the BTA core. BTA-3AZO was first self-assembled to nanocolumns mainly driven by the intermolecular hydrogen-bonds between BTA cores, and these self-assembled nanocolumns were further self-organized laterally to form the low-ordered hexagonal columnar liquid crystal (LC) phase below the isotropization temperature. Upon cooling, a lamello-columnar crystal phase emerged at room temperature via a highly ordered lamello-columnar LC phase. The three-dimensional (3D) organogel networks consisted of fibrous and lamellar superstructures were fabricated in the BTA-3AZO cyclohexane-methanol solutions. By tuning the wavelength of light, the shape and color of the 3D networked thin films were remote-controlled by the conformational changes of azobenzene moieties in the BTA-3AZO. The demonstrations of remote-controllable 3D actuating and rewritable films with the self-assembled hierarchical BTA-3AZO thin films can be stepping stones for the advanced flexible optoelectronic devices.