A new methodology is developed to activate and characterize mechanochemical transformations at a solid interface. Maleimide-anthracene mechanophores covalently anchored at a fused silica-polymer interface are activated using laser-induced stress waves. Spallation-induced mechanophore activation is observed above a threshold activation stress of 149 MPa. The retro [4+2] cycloaddition reaction is confirmed by fluorescence microscopy, XPS, and ToF-SIMS measurements. Control experiments with specimens in which the mechanophore is not covalently attached to the polymer layer exhibit no activation. In contrast to activation in solution or bulk polymers, whereby a proportional increase in mechanophore activity is observed with applied stress, interfacial activation occurs collectively with spallation of the polymer film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5000-5003
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 18 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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