Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Light-triggered topological programmability in a dynamic covalent polymer network

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  27 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 13, eaaz2362
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz2362

Abstract

Dynamic covalent polymer networks exhibit unusual adaptability while maintaining the robustness of conventional covalent networks. Typically, their network topology is statistically nonchangeable, and their material properties are therefore nonprogrammable. By introducing topological heterogeneity, we demonstrate a concept of topology isomerizable network (TIN) that can be programmed into many topological states. Using a photo-latent catalyst that controls the isomerization reaction, spatiotemporal manipulation of the topology is realized. The overall result is that the network polymer can be programmed into numerous polymers with distinctive and spatially definable (thermo-) mechanical properties. Among many opportunities for practical applications, the unique attributes of TIN can be explored for use as shape-shifting structures, adaptive robotic arms, and fracture-resistant stretchable devices, showing a high degree of design versatility. The TIN concept enriches the design of polymers, with potential expansion into other materials with variations in dynamic covalent chemistries, isomerizable topologies, and programmable macroscopic properties.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances