A mechanochromic donor-acceptor torsional spring
Mechanochromic polymers are intriguing materials that allow to sense force of specimens under load. Most mechanochromic systems rely on covalent bond scission and hence are two-state systems with optically distinct ""on"" and ""off"" states where correlating force with wavelength is usually not possible. Translating force of different magnitude with gradually different wavelength of absorption or emission would open up new possibilities to map and understand force distributions in polymeric materials. Here, we present a mechanochromic donor-acceptor (DA) torsional spring that undergoes force-induced planarization during uniaxial elongation leading to red-shifted absorption and emission spectra. The DA spring is based on ortho-substituted diketopyrrolopyrrole (o-DPP). Covalent incorporation of o-DPP into a rigid yet ductile polyphenylene matrix allows to transduce sufficiently large stress to the DA spring. The mechanically induced deflection from equilibrium geometry of the DA spring is theoretically predicted, in agreement with experiments, and is fully reversible upon stress release.
FIT Freiburg Centre for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies,University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.;; Cluster of Excellence livMatS @ FIT, Freiburg, Germany.