Diels–Alder Polymer Networks with Temperature-Reversible Cross-Linking-Induced Emission

Yu Jiang*, Nikos Hadjichristidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


A novel synthetic strategy gives reversible cross-linked polymeric materials with tunable fluorescence properties. Dimaleimide-substituted tetraphenylethene (TPE-2MI), which is non-emissive owing to the photo-induced electron transfer (PET) between maleimide (MI) and tetraphenylethene (TPE) groups, was used to cross-link random copolymers of methyl (MM), decyl (DM) or lauryl (LM) methacrylate with furfuryl methacrylate (FM). The mixture of copolymer and TPE-2MI in DMF showed reversible fluorescence with “on/off” behavior depending on the Diels–Alder (DA)/retro-DA process, which is easily adjusted by temperature. At high temperatures, the retro-DA reaction is dominant, and the fluorescence is quenched by the photo-induced electron transfer (PET) mechanism. In contrast, at low temperatures, the emission recovers as the DA reaction takes over. A transparent PMFM/TPE-2MI polymer film was prepared which shows an accurate response to the external temperature and exhibited tunable fluorescent “turn on/off” behavior. These results suggest the possible application in areas including information security and transmission. An example of invisible/visible writing is given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Angewandte Chemie International Edition published by Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • cross-linking-induced emission
  • Diels–Alder reaction
  • polymers
  • reversible photoluminescence
  • temperature response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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