Electrically conductive hybrid organic crystals as flexible optical waveguides
Hybrid materials capitalize on the properties of individual materials to attain a specific combination of performance assets that is not available with the individual components alone. We describe a straightforward approach to preparation of sandwich-type hybrid dynamic materials that combine metals as electrically conductive components and polymers as bending, momentum-inducing components with flexible organic crystals as mechanically compliant and optically transducive medium. The resulting hybrid materials are conductive to both electricity and light, while they also respond to changes in temperature by deformation. Depending on the metal, their conductivity ranges from 7.9 to 21.0 S µm. The elements respond rapidly to temperature by curling or uncurling in about 0.2 s, which in one typical case corresponds to exceedingly fast deformation and recovery rates of 2187.5° and 1458.3° , respectively. In cyclic operation mode, their conductivity decreases less than 1% after 10,000 thermal cycles. The mechanothermal robustness and dual functionality favors these materials as candidates for a variety of applications in organic-based optics and electronics, and expands the prospects of application of organic crystals beyond the natural limits of their dynamic performance.