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Professor Yan Xia, Noah Burns, Lynette Cegelski, and Todd Martinez's Research Featured on Cover of Science

Cover of Science

Artistically rendered segment of a synthetic macromolecular ladder scaffold, inspired by a natural product structure, that unzips through ring-opening in response to mechanical force. The ensuing mechanochemical metamorphosis of the insulating polyladderene structure into semiconducting polyacetylene nanowires rapidly transforms the material’s intrinsic properties and functions.

Aug 3 2017

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Announcements, Faculty, In the News

The cover of this week's issue of Science features Professor Noah Burns, Todd Martinez, Lynette Cegelski, and Yan Xia's research.  Read the full article on Science.

Cover of Science


Mechanochemical unzipping of insulating polyladderene to semiconducting polyacetylene

Zhixing Chen,1 Jaron A. M. Mercer,1 Xiaolei Zhu,1,2,4 Joseph A. H. Romaniuk,1Raphael Pfattner,3 Lynette Cegelski, 1 Todd J. Martinez,1,2,4* Noah Z. Burns,1* Yan Xia1*

Biological systems sense and respond to mechanical stimuli in a complex manner. In an effort to develop synthetic materials that transduce mechanical force into multifold changes in their intrinsic properties, we report on a mechanochemically responsive nonconjugated polymer that converts to a conjugated polymer via an extensive rearrangement of the macromolecular structure in response to force. Our design is based on the facile mechanochemical unzipping of polyladderene, a polymer inspired by a lipid natural product structure and prepared via direct metathesis polymerization. The resultant polyacetylene block copolymers exhibit long conjugation length and uniform trans-configuration and self-assemble into semiconducting nanowires. Calculations support a tandem unzipping mechanism of the ladderene units.