A recent experimental [P. Karageorgiev, D. Neher, B. Schulz, B. Stiller, U. Pietsch, M. Giersig, L. Brehmer, Nature Mater.4, 699 (2005)] study has found liquidlike diffusion below the glass-transition temperature in azobenzene-containing materials under irradiation. This result suggests that the isomerization-induced massive mass transport that leads to surface relief gratings formation in these materials, is induced by this huge increase of the matrix diffusion coefficient around the probe. In order to investigate the microscopic origin of the increase of the diffusion, we use molecular dynamics simulations of the photoisomerization of probe dispersed red 1 molecules dispersed inside a glassy molecular matrix. Results show that the increased diffusion is due to an isomerization-induced cage-breaking process. A process that explains the induced cooperative motions recently observed in these photoactive materials.

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