Thermally Twistable, Photobendable, Elastically Deformable, and Self-Healable Soft Crystals

Poonam Gupta, Durga Prasad Karothu, Ejaz Ahmed, Panče Naumov, Naba K. Nath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first example of a smart crystalline material, the 2:1 cocrystal of probenecid and 4,4′-azopyridine, which responds reversibly to multiple external stimuli (heat, UV light, and mechanical pressure) by twisting, bending, and elastic deformation without fracture is reported. This material is also able to self-heal on heating and cooling, thereby overcoming the main setbacks of molecular crystals for future applications as crystal actuators. The photo- and thermomechanical effects and self-healing capabilities of the material are rooted in reversible trans–cis isomerization of the azopyridine unit and crystal-to-crystal phase transition. Fairly isotropic intermolecular interactions and interlocked crisscrossed molecular packing secure high elasticity of the crystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8498-8502
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 9 2018


  • actuators
  • azobenzene
  • photomechanical effects
  • self-healing
  • single crystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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