Review

Functional Supramolecular Polymers

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Science  17 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6070, pp. 813-817
DOI: 10.1126/science.1205962

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Abstract

Supramolecular polymers can be random and entangled coils with the mechanical properties of plastics and elastomers, but with great capacity for processability, recycling, and self-healing due to their reversible monomer-to-polymer transitions. At the other extreme, supramolecular polymers can be formed by self-assembly among designed subunits to yield shape-persistent and highly ordered filaments. The use of strong and directional interactions among molecular subunits can achieve not only rich dynamic behavior but also high degrees of internal order that are not known in ordinary polymers. They can resemble, for example, the ordered and dynamic one-dimensional supramolecular assemblies of the cell cytoskeleton and possess useful biological and electronic functions.

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