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Rapid and reversible shape changes of molecular crystals on photoirradiation

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, April 2007
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 blog
2 tweeters
4 patents


931 Dimensions

Readers on

400 Mendeley
3 CiteULike
2 Connotea
Rapid and reversible shape changes of molecular crystals on photoirradiation
Published in
Nature, April 2007
DOI 10.1038/nature05669
Pubmed ID

Seiya Kobatake, Shizuka Takami, Hiroaki Muto, Tomoyuki Ishikawa, Masahiro Irie


The development of actuators based on materials that reversibly change shape and/or size in response to external stimuli has attracted interest for some time. A particularly intriguing possibility is offered by light-responsive materials, which allow remote operation without the need for direct contact to the actuator. The photo-response of these materials is based on the photoisomerization of constituent molecules (typically trans-cis isomerization of azobenzene chromophores), which gives rise to molecular motions and thereby deforms the bulk material. This effect has been used to create light-deformable polymer films and gels, but the response of these systems is relatively slow. Here we report that molecular crystals based on diarylethene chromophores and with sizes ranging from 10 to 100 micrometres exhibit rapid and reversible macroscopic changes in shape and size induced by ultraviolet and visible light. We find that on exposure to ultraviolet light, a single crystal of 1,2-bis(2-ethyl-5-phenyl-3-thienyl)perfluorocyclopentene changes from a square shape to a lozenge shape, whereas a rectangular single crystal of 1,2-bis(5-methyl-2-phenyl-4-thiazolyl)perfluorocyclopentene contracts by about 5-7 per cent. The deformed crystals are thermally stable, and switch back to their original state on irradiation with visible light. We find that our crystals respond in about 25 microseconds (that is, about five orders of magnitude faster than the response time of the azobenzene-based polymer systems) and that they can move microscopic objects, making them promising materials for possible light-driven actuator applications.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 2 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 400 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Japan 7 2%
United States 5 1%
Canada 3 <1%
Italy 2 <1%
Saudi Arabia 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Belgium 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Other 2 <1%
Unknown 376 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 118 30%
Researcher 68 17%
Student > Master 50 13%
Student > Bachelor 35 9%
Professor > Associate Professor 27 7%
Other 59 15%
Unknown 43 11%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Chemistry 208 52%
Physics and Astronomy 48 12%
Materials Science 46 12%
Engineering 17 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 3%
Other 15 4%
Unknown 56 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 26. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 October 2020.
All research outputs
of 19,172,905 outputs
Outputs from Nature
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Nature
of 996 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,172,905 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 83,405 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 93.8. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 63% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 169,563 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 996 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 44th percentile – i.e., 44% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.