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Issue 23, 2016
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Gels with sense: supramolecular materials that respond to heat, light and sound

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Abstract

Advances in the field of supramolecular chemistry have made it possible, in many situations, to reliably engineer soft materials to address a specific technological problem. Particularly exciting are “smart” gels that undergo reversible physical changes on exposure to remote, non-invasive environmental stimuli. This review explores the development of gels which are transformed by heat, light and ultrasound, as well as other mechanical inputs, applied voltages and magnetic fields. Focusing on small-molecule gelators, but with reference to organic polymers and metal–organic systems, we examine how the structures of gelator assemblies influence the physical and chemical mechanisms leading to thermo-, photo- and mechano-switchable behaviour. In addition, we evaluate how the unique and versatile properties of smart materials may be exploited in a wide range of applications, including catalysis, crystal growth, ion sensing, drug delivery, data storage and biomaterial replacement.

Graphical abstract: Gels with sense: supramolecular materials that respond to heat, light and sound

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Jun 2016 and first published on 20 Sep 2016


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6CS00435K
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016,45, 6546-6596
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    Gels with sense: supramolecular materials that respond to heat, light and sound

    C. D. Jones and J. W. Steed, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016, 45, 6546
    DOI: 10.1039/C6CS00435K

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