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Light-Stabilized Dynamic Materials

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journal contribution
posted on 26.06.2019, 00:00 by Hannes A. Houck, Eva Blasco, Filip E. Du Prez, Christopher Barner-Kowollik
The light-responsive adaptation of polymer materials typically requires different wavelengths or additional heat to induce reversible covalent bond formation and dissociation. Here, we bypass the use of invasive triggers by introducing light-stabilized dynamic materials that can undergo a repeatable change in topology from a covalently cross-linked material into a liquid polymer formulation by switching one visible light source on-and-off without the need for any additional triggers. Specifically, we exploit the photo-Diels–Alder reaction of triazolinediones with naphthalenes as a dynamic covalent cross-linking platform that enables green light-induced network formation, while the cross-linked material collapses through spontaneous cycloreversion upon standing in the dark at ambient temperature. Importantly, the covalent cross-links remain stabilized for as long as visible light is present, thereby retaining the material’s structural integrity. This enables their potential use in an array of light-directed applications whereby network properties such as stiffness can be tuned by the mildest trigger of all: darkness.