Supramolecular polymer fabricated by click polymerization from supramonomer

  Supramolecular polymers, which are fabricated based on noncovalent interactions, are dynamic, reversible and degradable. They are therefore potential for use as recyclable or “self-healing” materials. Supramolecular polymers are usually constructed by noncovalent polymerization of covalent bifunctional monomers, which are typically driven by multiple hydrogen bonding, host-guest interactions et al. However, Prof. Xi Zhang and Prof. Zhiqiang Wang of Tsinghua University have done the opposite. They have built a new way to prepare supramolecular polymers based on the concept of supramonomers. Firstly, polymerizable supramonomers driven by noncovalent interactions were fabricated, and then supramolecular polymers were prepared by covalently polymerization of the supramonomers. This method is expected to be widely applied because that various noncovalent interactions could be used to fabricate supramonomers with diversified structures, and different methods of covalent polymerization could be employed to polymerize the supramonomers. Supramolecular polymers being formed in this way may have a controlled polydispersity which depends on the methods we choose for polymerization. Based on the supramonomer concept, we can develop a “one-pot” strategy, and simplify the fabrication of supramolecular polymers (Polymer Chemistry, 2014, 5, 323-326).