Cross-linked supramolecular polymer networks with responsive and elastic gel properties via host–guest complexation: controlled release of squaraine dyes†
Triptycene-derived macrotricyclic polyether was proved to be an efficient “molecular glue” for cross-linking the copolymer containing dibenzylammonium salts to form supramolecular polymer networks via host–guest complexation, which was evidenced by 1H NMR spectroscopy, solution viscometry, and formation of transparent and elastic supramolecular polymer gels. Interestingly, a well-defined porous structure of the supramolecular polymer gel could be observed at the fully cross-linked density, and its mechanical properties could be modulated by the amount of the macrotricyclic host added to the system. Moreover, the supramolecular polymer gel showed acid/base- and thermo-induced reversible gel–sol transitions. Additionally, the supramolecular polymer gel could also be employed for the encapsulation and controllable release of squaraine dyes, which might find potential applications in materials science.