Mechanoradicals Created in “Polymeric Sponges” Drive Reactions in Aqueous Media


  • This work was supported by the Non-equilibrium Energy Research Center (NERC) which is an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0000989. We would like to thank Prof. Michael R. Wasielewski and Dr. Tomoaki Miura for their help with ESR spectroscopy, Dr. Bartlomiej Kowalczyk for SEM imaging, Pat Fuller for his help in radical diffusion simulations, and Prof. Fraser J. Stoddart and Albert C. Fahrenbach for CV measurements. XPS spectrum was taken at the KECK-II facility at NU. H.T.B and B.B. contributed equally to this work.


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Squeezing out the energy: Macroscopically reversible deformation of polymers in contact with water produces H2O2 in quantities that are sufficient to drive small-scale chemical syntheses. The amount of mechanosynthesized H2O2 scales with the polymer–water interfacial area, and the efficiency of the mechanical-to-chemical energy transduction can be as high as 30 % for soft, porous polymer “sponges”.