Polymers that release functional small molecules under mechanical stress potentially serve as next-generation materials for catalysis, sensing, and mechanochemical dynamic therapy. To further expand the function of mechanoresponsive materials, the discovery of chemistries capable of small molecule release are highly desirable. In this report, we detail a nonscissile bifunctional mechanophore (i.e., dual mechano-activated properties) based on a unique mechanochemical reaction involving norborn-2-en-7-one (NEO). One property is the release of carbon monoxide (CO) upon pulsed solution ultrasonication. A release efficiency of 58% is observed at high molecular weights (Mn = 158.8 kDa), equating to ∼154 molecules of CO released per chain. The second property is the bright cyan emission from the macromolecular product in its aggregated state, resulting in a turn-on fluorescence readout coincident with CO release. This report not only demonstrates a unique strategy for the release of small molecules in a nonscissile way but also guides future designs of force-responsive aggregation-induced emission (AIE) luminogens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry