Highly efficient in crystallo energy transduction of light to work

Jiawei Lin, Jianmin Zhou, Liang Li, Ibrahim Tahir, Songgu Wu, Panče Naumov, Junbo Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various mechanical effects have been reported with molecular materials, yet organic crystals capable of multiple dynamic effects are rare, and at present, their performance is worse than some of the common actuators. Here, we report a confluence of different mechanical effects across three polymorphs of an organic crystal that can efficiently convert light into work. Upon photodimerization, acicular crystals of polymorph I display output work densities of about 0.06–3.94 kJ m−3, comparable to ceramic piezoelectric actuators. Prismatic crystals of the same form exhibit very high work densities of about 1.5–28.5 kJ m−3, values that are comparable to thermal actuators. Moreover, while crystals of polymorph II roll under the same conditions, crystals of polymorph III are not photochemically reactive; however, they are mechanically flexible. The results demonstrate that multiple and possibly combined mechanical effects can be anticipated even for a simple organic crystal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3633
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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