In the past few years, spiropyran has emerged as the molecule-of-choice for the construction of novel dynamic materials. This unique molecular switch undergoes structural isomerisation in response to a variety of orthogonal stimuli, e.g. light, temperature, metal ions, redox potential, and mechanical stress. Incorporation of this switch onto macromolecular supports or inorganic scaffolds allows for the creation of robust dynamic materials. This review discusses the synthesis, switching conditions, and use of dynamic materials in which spiropyran has been attached to the surfaces of polymers, biomacromolecules, inorganic nanoparticles, as well as solid surfaces. The resulting materials show fascinating properties whereby the state of the switch intimately affects a multitude of useful properties of the support. The utility of the spiropyran switch will undoubtedly endow these materials with far-reaching applications in the near future.
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