Mechanochemical Regulation of a Photochemical Reaction

Xiaoran Hu, Molly E. McFadden, Ross W. Barber, Maxwell J. Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We introduce the concept of mechanochemically gated photoswitching. Mechanical regulation of a photochemical reaction is exemplified using a newly designed mechanophore based on a cyclopentadiene-maleimide Diels-Alder adduct. Ultrasound-induced mechanical activation of the photochemically inert mechanophore in polymers generates a diarylethene photoswitch via a retro-[4 + 2] cycloaddition reaction that photoisomerizes between colorless and colored states upon exposure to UV and visible light. Control experiments demonstrate the thermal stability of the cyclopentadiene-maleimide adduct and confirm the mechanical origin of the "unlocked" photochromic reactivity. This technology holds promise for applications such as lithography and stress-sensing, enabling the mechanical history of polymeric materials to be recorded and read on-demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14073-14077
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 31 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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