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Mechanically Triggered Small Molecule Release from a Masked Furfuryl Carbonate

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journal contribution
posted on 16.09.2019, 14:35 by Xiaoran Hu, Tian Zeng, Corey C. Husic, Maxwell J. Robb
Stimuli-responsive polymers that release small molecules under mechanical stress are appealing targets for applications ranging from drug delivery to sensing. Here, we describe a modular mechanophore design platform for molecular release via a mechanically triggered cascade reaction. Mechanochemical activation of a furan–maleimide Diels–Alder adduct reveals a latent furfuryl carbonate that subsequently decomposes under mild conditions to release a covalently bound cargo molecule. The computationally guided design of a reactive secondary furfuryl carbonate enables the decomposition and release to proceed quickly at room temperature after unmasking via mechanical force. This general strategy is demonstrated using ultrasound-induced mechanical activation to release a fluorogenic coumarin payload from a polymer incorporating a chain-centered mechanophore.