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Azobenzenes trap heat when exposed to sunlight due to the principle of photo-isomerism. But this occurs in nanoseconds.

I was wondering if we can store this heat for hours and utilize this later on. Is there any way to do that?

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    $\begingroup$ One of the two isomerisations may be driven by heat, but more generally speaking, you may switch between cis and trans configuration with light of different wavelengths that may be (and actually already is) used for information storage. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azobenzene) Stilbenes may offer this, too, but azo dyes made the run. $\endgroup$ – Buttonwood Jul 10 '17 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ How could you equate light with heat... $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jul 10 '17 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ This is what photosynthesis does, light energy is converted into carbohydrates that can later on be used as fuel. In simple systems such as the azobenzenes or stilbenes the photoisomers will thermally convert back to the most stable trans species but do so very slowly so the energy released would hardly be noticeable. $\endgroup$ – porphyrin Jul 10 '17 at 20:36

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