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Mechanophore Strategies for the Development of Polymers with Mechanically Gated Responsive Behavior


Barber, Ross William (2023) Mechanophore Strategies for the Development of Polymers with Mechanically Gated Responsive Behavior. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/wgnw-zq30.


The development of mechanically sensitive molecules has recently enabled mechanical force to induce specific changes in polymeric materials. This document details efforts in the development of such mechanophores in which mechanical activation is used to gate the desired functional responses.

Chapter 1 is an introduction to polymer mechanochemistry and delineates the state of the field as it relates to color changing mechanophores used for damage detection. Special emphasis is placed on a system developed by our lab in which mechanical force gates the photoresponsive behavior of a diarylethene molecular switch.

Chapter 2 details the design of a new mechanically gated photoswitch whose synthesis and activity are improved from the previous iteration. The modular design enables a late-stage synthetic intermediate to be differentiated into a small library of masked photoswitches that produce unique colors following mechanical activation and ultraviolet irradiation. Notably, these mechanophores show activity in solution phase experiments as well as in bulk polymeric materials.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Mechanophore; polymer; responsive; materials; force
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Robb, Maxwell J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Stoltz, Brian M. (chair)
  • Agapie, Theodor (co-chair)
  • Nelson, Hosea M.
  • Robb, Maxwell J.
Defense Date:1 May 2023
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05092023-013609857
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription for Chapter 1 for Chapter 2
Barber, Ross William0000-0003-0434-847X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15156
Deposited By: Ross Barber
Deposited On:22 May 2023 19:41
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:42

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