These are small-molecule liquid crystals (LCs) gelled either by a covalent or a self-assembled azobenzene-containing network. We explore the reversible trans-cis photoisomerization of azobenzene to add new functionalities to these materials. In particular, we are interested in using them as optical materials to record diffraction gratings that can be controlled either by an electric field or light (optical control of optical materials or properties).

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