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Photosensitive films incorporating molecular photoacid generators compartmentalized within a silica-surfactant mesophase were prepared by an evaporation-induced self-assembly process. Ultraviolet exposure promoted localized acid-catalyzed siloxane condensation, which can be used for selective etching of unexposed regions; for “gray-scale” patterning of refractive index, pore size, surface area, and wetting behavior; and for optically defining a mesophase transformation (from hexagonal to tetragonal) within the film. The ability to optically define and continuously control both structure and function on the macro- and mesoscales is of interest for sensor arrays, nanoreactors, photonic and fluidic devices, and low-dielectric-constant films.
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