Single-Crystal Polycationic Polymers Obtained by Single-Crystal-to-Single-Crystal Photopolymerization. Academic Article uri icon


  • The efficient preparation of single-crystalline ionic polymers and fundamental understanding of their structure-property relationships at the molecular level remains a challenge in chemistry and materials science. Here, we describe the single-crystal structure of a highly ordered polycationic polymer (polyelectrolyte) and its proton conductivity. The polyelectrolyte single crystals can be prepared on a gram-scale in quantitative yield, by taking advantage of an ultraviolet/sunlight-induced topochemical polymerization, from a tricationic monomer-a self-complementary building block possessing a preorganized conformation. A single-crystal-to-single-crystal photopolymerization was revealed unambiguously by in situ single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis, which was also employed to follow the progression of molecular structure from the monomer, to a partially polymerized intermediate, and, finally, to the polymer itself. Collinear polymer chains are held together tightly by multiple Coulombic interactions involving counterions to form two-dimensional lamellar sheets (1 nm in height) with sub-nanometer pores (5 ). The polymer is extremely stable under 254 nm light irradiation and high temperature (above 500 K). The extraordinary mechanical strength and environmental stability-in combination with its impressive proton conductivity (3 10-4 S cm-1)-endow the polymer with potential applications as a robust proton-conducting material. By marrying supramolecular chemistry with macromolecular science, the outcome represents a major step toward the controlled synthesis of single-crystalline polyelectrolyte materials with perfect tacticity.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

altmetric score

  • 29.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Guo, Q., Jia, M., Liu, Z., Qiu, Y., Chen, H., Shen, D., ... Stoddart, J. F.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Guo, Qing-Hui||Jia, Manping||Liu, Zhichang||Qiu, Yunyan||Chen, Hongliang||Shen, Dengke||Zhang, Xuan||Tu, Qing||Ryder, Matthew R||Chen, Haoyuan||Li, Peng||Xu, Yaobin||Li, Penghao||Chen, Zhijie||Shekhawat, Gajendra S||Dravid, Vinayak P||Snurr, Randall Q||Philp, Douglas||Sue, Andrew C-H||Farha, Omar K||Rolandi, Marco||Stoddart, J Fraser

publication date

  • January 2020