The Laboratory for Smart Polymeric and Supramolecular Systems (SmartPASS Lab) led by Clarkson Chemistry Professor Xiaocun Lu, reports the first mechanically-induced near-infrared (NIR) materials. Their research work, entitled “Force-Induced Near-Infrared Chromism of Mechanophore-Linked Polymers”, has been recently published in the leading journal Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) and featured as a cover article.
Polymers refer to various materials with gigantic molecular sizes, including rubbers, plastics, and biomolecules such as proteins and cellulose. Polymer mechanochemistry is an emerging multidisciplinary area. It focuses on mechanical force-induced chemical transformations in polymeric materials. Professor Lu’s team collaborated with the Fluorescence Research Group led by Professor Xiaogang Liu at Singapore University of Technology and Design and reported a smart molecular structure, showing mechanically-triggered near-infrared (NIR) emission. Near-infrared (NIR) light has been widely used for biomedical applications due to its deep penetration depth. This mechanically-sensitive molecule, named NIR-mechanophore, could be activated in solution, thin-film, and solid states, demonstrating considerable potentials in damage detection, ultrasound imaging, and biomechanics.
“Polymer mechanochemistry has become a fast-growing multidisciplinary area in recent years. Similar to heat and UV radiation, mechanical force could also trigger specific reactions and chemical transformations. Mechanochemistry is a powerful tool to develop mechanically-sensitive smart materials.” Professor Lu said. “We are the first team to report mechanical force-induced NIR polymers. Such smart polymers could be incorporated into engineering materials to detect internal mechanical damage. They could also be used to develop the next-generation ultrasound imaging technique for biomedical applications. We are thrilled to report this breakthrough to the smart materials community. Our team is honored to see this research work featured as a cover article of JACS.”
The full article can be read here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.1c05923