Halogen bonding (XB), a non-covalent interaction between an electron-deficient halogen atom and a Lewis base, is widely adopted in organic synthesis and supramolecular crystal engineering. However, the roadmap towards materials applications is hindered by the challenges in harnessing this relatively weak intermolecular interaction to devise human-commanded stimuli-responsive soft materials. Here, we report a liquid crystalline network comprising permanent covalent crosslinks and dynamic halogen bond crosslinks, which possess reversible thermo-responsive shape memory behaviour. Our findings suggest that I···N halogen bond, a paradigmatic motif in crystal engineering studies, enables temporary shape fixation at room temperature and subsequent shape recovery in response to human body temperature. We demonstrate versatile shape programming of the halogen-bonded polymer networks through human-hand operation and propose a micro-robotic injection model for complex 1D to 3D shape morphing in aqueous media at 37 °C. Through systematic structure-property-performance studies, we show the necessity of the I···N crosslinks in driving the shape memory effect. The halogen-bonded shape memory polymers expand the toolbox for the preparation of smart supramolecular constructs with tailored mechanical properties and thermoresponsive behaviour, for the needs of, e.g., future medical devices.
Publication forum classification
- Publication forum level 3
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)