Multifunctionality in Polymer Networks by Dynamic of Coordination Bonds


The need for multifunctional materials is driven by emerging technologies and innovations, such as in the field of soft robotics and tactile or haptic systems, where minimizing the number of operational components is not only desirable, but can also be essential for realizing such devices. This study report on designing a multifunctional soft polymer material that can address a number of operating requirements such as solvent resistance, reshaping ability, self‐healing capability, fluorescence stimuli‐responsivity, and anisotropic structural functions. The numerous functional abilities are associated to rhodium(I)–phosphine coordination bonds, which in a polymer network act with their dynamic and non‐covalently bonded nature as multifunctional crosslinks. Reversible aggregation of coordination bonds leads to changes in fluorescence emission intensity that responds to chemical or mechanical stimuli. The fast dynamics and diffusion of rhodium–phosphine ions across and through contacting areas of the material provide for reshaping and self‐healing abilities that can be further exploited for assembly of multiple pieces into complex forms, all without any loss to material‐sensing capabilities.
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