A new class of photoresist is described for direct laser writing of photoswitchable 3D microstructures. The material comprising off-stoichiometric thiol-ene photo-clickable resins enables rapid two-photon laser processing of highly complex structures and facile post-modification with photoswitches. The microstructures were functionalized with a series of donor-acceptor Stenhouse adducts (DASAs) photoswitches with different excitation wavelength. The versatility of thiol–ene photo-click reaction enabled fine-tuning of the network structure and physical properties as well as the type and concentration of DASA photoswitches. When exposed to visible light, these microstructures exhibit excellent photo-responsiveness and undergo reversible color-changing via photoisomerization of DASA moieties. We describe that the weak fluorescence of DASAs can be used as a reporter of photoswitching, color changes, and thermal recovery, allowing the reading of DASA-containing sub-micrometric structures in 3D. This work delivers a new approach for custom microfabrication of 3D photochromic objects with molecularly engineered color and responsiveness.
Ulrich 2020 SI