Molecular martensitic materials are an emerging class of smart materials with enormous tunability in physicochemical properties, attributed to the tailored molecular and crystal structures through molecular design. This class of materials exhibits ultrafast and reversible structural transitions in response to thermal and mechanical stimuli, which underlies fascinating properties such as thermoelasticity, superelasticity, ferroelasticity, and shape memory effect. These dynamic properties are not widely explored in molecular crystals and therefore molecular martensitic materials represent a new frontier in the field of solid-state chemistry. In martensitic transitions, the materials not only exhibit substantial shape changes but also remember the functions in the associated polymorphic phases. This suggests promising applicability towards light-weight actuators, lifts, dampers, sensors, shape-/function-memory and ultraflexible optoelectronic devices. In this article, we review characteristics, detailed transition mechanisms, and potential applications of molecular martensitic materials. In particular, we aim to describe transition characteristics by collecting cases with similar transition principles in order to glean insights into further advancement of molecular martensitic materials. Overall, we believe that molecular martensitic materials are emerging as the next generation smart materials that have shown promise in advancing a wide range of domains of applications.
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