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Design Principles for Aqueous Interactive Materials: Lessons from Small Molecules and Stimuli-Responsive Systems.

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McCune, Jade A 
Mommer, Stefan 
Parkins, Christopher C 


Interactive materials are at the forefront of current materials research with few examples in the literature. Researchers are inspired by nature to develop materials that can modulate and adapt their behavior in accordance with their surroundings. Stimuli-responsive systems have been developed over the past decades which, although often described as "smart," lack the ability to act autonomously. Nevertheless, these systems attract attention on account of the resultant materials' ability to change their properties in a predicable manner. These materials find application in a plethora of areas including drug delivery, artificial muscles, etc. Stimuli-responsive materials are serving as the precursors for next-generation interactive materials. Interest in these systems has resulted in a library of well-developed chemical motifs; however, there is a fundamental gap between stimuli-responsive and interactive materials. In this perspective, current state-of-the-art stimuli-responsive materials are outlined with a specific emphasis on aqueous macroscopic interactive materials. Compartmentalization, critical for achieving interactivity, relies on hydrophobic, hydrophilic, supramolecular, and ionic interactions, which are commonly present in aqueous systems and enable complex self-assembly processes. Relevant examples of aqueous interactive materials that do exist are given, and design principles to realize the next generation of materials with embedded autonomous function are suggested.



biomimetic materials, functional materials, hydrogels, interactive materials, polymers, stimuli-responsive materials

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Adv Mater

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L027151/1)
European Research Council (726470)
JAM thanks ESPRC for an IAA KTF M is grateful for a Newton International Fellowship OAS is thankful to ERC Consolidator Grant CAM-RIG