Polymerization Initiated by Particle Contact: A Quiescent State Trigger for Materials Synthesis

Kristin M. Hutchins, Nina M. Sekerak, Jeffrey S. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dispersions of particles onto which reactive groups are bound give rise to inhomogeneous concentrations that may afford fundamentally different chemical behavior compared to the same molecular species dissolved in homogeneous solution. An example is bimolecular reactivity of complementary-functionalized particles, whereby interparticle contact is expected to promote fast kinetics localized to the interface, while exhibiting essentially no reactivity elsewhere. Such materials may exhibit unique properties analogous to blood clotting and thereby be useful in self-healing applications. Here, we demonstrate a radical polymerization reaction whose initiation is controlled by the physical proximity of two complementary co-initiators bound to a substrate and/or polymer beads. Polymerization of the surrounding acrylate monomer only occurs when interfaces functionalized with dimethylaniline encounter interfaces bearing benzoyl peroxide. At the interface of the complementary-functionalized beads, polymerization affords a "clot-like" scaffold of beads and polymer. Interestingly, such a scaffold is only attained when the beads are in a quiescent state. These findings open the way to the design of spatially controlled dual initiator systems and novel self-healing strategies and motifs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12336-12339
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 28 2016


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