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Light-triggered topological programmability in a dynamic covalent polymer network

Editorgroup5  Date2020-04-05 01:00:14   Hits:338

Dynamic covalent polymer networks exhibit unusual adaptability while maintaining the robustness of conventional covalent networks. Typically, their network topology is statistically non-changeable and their material properties are therefore non-programmable.

By introducing topological heterogeneity, we demonstrate a concept of topology isomerizable network (TIN) that can be programmed into many topological states. Employing a photo-latent catalyst that controls the isomerization reaction, spatio-temporal manipulation of the topology is realized. The overall result is that the network polymer can be programmed into numerous polymers with distinctive and spatially definable (thermo-) mechanical properties. Amongst many opportunities for practical applications, the unique attributes of TIN can be explored for use as shape-shifting structures, adaptive robotic arms, and fracture resistant stretchable devices, showing a high degree of design versatility. The TIN concept enriches the design of polymers, with potential expansion into other materials with variations in dynamic covalent chemistries, isomerizable topologies, and programmable macroscopic properties. The related paper is published on Science Advances, as the link follows:


Figure: Topological isomerizable polymer network synthesis and mechanism