Controlled Diels–Alder “Click” Strategy to Access Mechanically Aligned Main-Chain Liquid Crystal Networks

Jesus Guillen Campos, Friedrich Stricker, Kyle D. Clark, Minwook Park, Sophia J. Bailey, Alexa S. Kuenstler, Ryan C. Hayward, Javier Read de Alaniz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aligned liquid crystal polymers are materials of interest for electronic, optic, biological and soft robotic applications. The manufacturing and processing of these materials have been widely explored with mechanical alignment establishing itself as a preferred method due to its ease of use and widespread applicability. However, the fundamental chemistry behind the required two-step polymerization for mechanical alignment has limitations in both fabrication and substrate compatibility. In this work we introduce a new protection-deprotection approach utilizing a two-stage Diels–Alder cyclopentadiene-maleimide step-growth polymerization to enable mild yet efficient, fast, controlled, reproducible and user-friendly polymerizations, broadening the scope of liquid crystal systems. Thorough characterization of the films by DSC, DMA, POM and WAXD show the successful synthesis of a uniaxially aligned liquid crystal network with thermomechanical actuation abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202214339
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Click Chemistry
  • Cyclopentadiene
  • Diels–Alder
  • Liquid Crystal Networks
  • Two-Step Polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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