Chemistry Professor Clarkson Xiaocun Lu’s research into the mechanochemistry of polymers made the cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society

The Laboratory for Intelligent Polymer and Supramolecular Systems (SmartPASS Laboratory) headed by chemistry professor Clarkson Xiaocun Lu, reports the first mechanically induced near infrared (NIR) materials. Their research, titled “Force-Induced Near-Infrared Chromism of Mechanophore-Linked Polymers”, was recently published in the leading journal. Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) and presented as a cover story.

Polymers refer to various materials with gigantic molecular sizes, including rubbers, plastics, and biomolecules such as proteins and cellulose. The mechanochemistry of polymers is an emerging multidisciplinary field. It focuses on chemical transformations induced by mechanical force in polymeric materials. Prof. Lu’s team collaborated with the fluorescence research group led by Prof. Xiaogang Liu from Singapore University of Technology and Design and reported intelligent molecular structure, showing near infrared (NIR ) triggered mechanically. Near infrared (NIR) light has been widely used for biomedical applications due to its deep penetration depth. This mechanically sensitive molecule, named the NIR mechanophore, could be activated in solution, in thin film and in solid state, demonstrating considerable potentials in damage detection, ultrasound imaging and biomechanics.

“The mechanochemistry of polymers has become a growing multidisciplinary field in recent years. Similar to heat and UV radiation, mechanical force could also trigger specific reactions and chemical transformations. Mechanochemistry is a powerful tool for developing intelligent, mechanically sensitive materials. says Professor Lu. “We are the first team to report NIR polymers induced by mechanical force. Such smart polymers could be incorporated into engineered materials to detect internal mechanical damage. They could also be used to develop the next generation ultrasound imaging technique for biomedical applications. We are excited to report this breakthrough to the smart materials community. Our team is honored to see this research presented as a JACS cover story. “

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