Photoirradiation-generated radicals in two-component supramolecular gel for polymerization†
While supramolecular gels have been attracting great interest due to their easy design and fabrication, development of new applications based on these gels is always a challenging topic. Here, we report a two-component supramolecular gel that can generate and stabilize radicals through photo-irradiation, which can be subsequently used for polymerization. It has been found that the electrostatic interactions between a cationic amphiphile and anionic sulfonate could afford co-assembly into a two-component supramolecular gel. Upon photo-irradiation, the gel changed colour and produced the radicals, as verified from the EPR measurements. The radical thus formed in the supramolecular gel is relatively stable and could be used to polymerize acrylic acid directly without deoxygenation. In contrast, acrylic acid could not be polymerized in solution under the same conditions. This work expands the application scope of supramolecular gels.