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Ladderanes, polymers that “unzip” under mechanical stimuli

A group from the Stanford University, in the US, has developed a polymer comprised by a series of fused four-membered carbocycles called polyladderene, which resembles the steps of a ladder. When the researchers submitted a solution of this polymer to sonication, they noticed that the solution goes from colorless to blue – the blue color was a consequence of the formation of polyacetylene nanowires, a semiconductor polymer. The formation of this polymer takes place through the radical tandem opening of the rings, as suggested by theoretical calculations.

The development of polymers that have their properties changed under mechanical stimuli is highly important in several fields, specially in the development of new materials.

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