Anthracene-based mechanophores for compression-activated fluorescence in polymeric networks†
The recent attention given to functionalities that respond to mechanical force has led to a deeper understanding of force transduction and mechanical wear in polymeric materials. Furthermore, polymers have been carefully designed such that activation of “mechanophores” leads to productive outputs, such as material reinforcement or changes in optical properties. In this work, a crosslinker containing an anthracene–maleimide linkage was designed and used to prepare networks that display a fluorescence response when damaged. The pressure-dependent damage of poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide) networks was monitored using solid-state fluorescence spectroscopy, with increasing compressive forces leading to higher degrees of mechanophore activation. When a stamp was used to compress the networks, only the areas in contact with the raised portion of the stamp underwent mechanophore activation, resulting in the generation of patterns that were only visible under UV light. Finally, an isomeric “flex” mechanophore was designed and used to prepare networks that were compressed and compared to the previously described networks.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 Chemical Science HOT Article Collection