We report a reversible photoinduced fluid viscosity change. A small amount of a "photoswitchable" azobenzene-modified cationic surfactant (4-butylazobenzene-4′-(oxyethyl)trimethylammonium bromide, AZTMA) was added to a wormlike micellar solution of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) containing sodium salicylate (NaSal). The trans-AZTMA solution had a remarkably high viscosity as a result of the entangled network of wormlike micelles. UV light irradiation on the trans-AZTMA solution remarkably decreased the viscosity of the solution because the bulky structure of cis-AZTMA is likely to disrupt the network structure of wormlike micelles. This photoinduced viscosity change is perfectly reversible between the trans- and cis-AZTMA solutions.
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