Spirooxazine (SO) photochromic molecules were trapped in sol-gel matrices. In order to increase the colourability and improve mechanical properties of sol-gel photochromic films, we present an original strategy in which SO photochromic molecules were dispersed in mesoporous organized films using the impregnation technique.
Well-ordered organosilicate mesoporous coatings with the 3D-hexagonal symmetry were prepared by the sol-gel technique. These robust mesoporous films, which contain high amounts of hydrophobic methyl groups at the pore surface, offer optimized environments for photochromic dyes dispersed by impregnation technique. After impregnation by a spirooxazine solution, the photochromic response is only slightly slower when compared with mesostructured or soft
sol-gel matrices, showing that mesoporous organized hybrid matrix are good host for photochromic dyes. Moreover, the molecular loading in films is easily adjustable in a large range using multi-impregnation procedure and increasing the film thickness leading to coatings for optical switching devices.