PerspectiveMaterials Chemistry

Interlacing molecular threads

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Science  22 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6271, pp. 336
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad9671

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The synthesis of organic materials has typically involved linking one or more types of discrete molecular building blocks to produce structures that are extended in three dimensions. For example, repeated addition of monomers results in the formation of organic polymers that have randomly packed structures and therefore form amorphous solid materials. If the building blocks repeat in an ordered sequence, crystalline solids are formed. The properties of the resulting solids are intimately related to both their network structure and their chemical components. On page 365 of this issue, Liu et al. report a material that has a fabric-like woven microstructure, giving it exceptional flexibility (1).