The first thiol–yne click chemistry approach for the preparation of liquid crystalline elastomers†
A thiol–yne click chemistry reaction is presented, for the first time, to prepare liquid crystalline elastomers. The synthetic strategy is based on two liquid crystalline monomers, one bearing an alkyne group and the second bearing two thiol groups, to create a liquid crystalline network with a mixed side-chain/main-chain structure. The resulting material, having this macromolecular structure, is able to undergo bigger contractions than the common LCEs prepared using photopolymerization and having a side-chain structure. This preparation method results in a good strategy also for miniaturization of LCE devices, a hot topic in microrobotics and fluidic-photonics.