Chemically Triggered Synthesis, Remodeling, and Degradation of Soft Materials

Xiaolong Sun, Malgorzata Chwatko, Doo Hee Lee, James L. Bachman, James F. Reuther, Nathaniel A. Lynd, Eric V. Anslyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Polymer topology dictates dynamic and mechanical properties of materials. For most polymers, topology is a static characteristic. In this article, we present a strategy to chemically trigger dynamic topology changes in polymers in response to a specific chemical stimulus. Starting with a dimerized PEG and hydrophobic linear materials, a lightly cross-linked polymer, and a cross-linked hydrogel, transformations into an amphiphilic linear polymer, lightly cross-linked and linear random copolymers, a cross-linked polymer, and three different hydrogel matrices were achieved via two controllable cross-linking reactions: reversible conjugate additions and thiol-disulfide exchange. Significantly, all the polymers, before or after topological changes, can be triggered to degrade into thiol- or amine-terminated small molecules. The controllable transformations of polymeric morphologies and their degradation herald a new generation of smart materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3913-3922
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 26 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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