Supramolecular polymers: Dynamic assemblies of “dancing” monomers

Radoslav Z. Pavlović, Simon A. Egner, Liam C. Palmer, Samuel I. Stupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this perspective on supramolecular polymers is to highlight how their dynamic nature based on noncovalent bonding among monomers can have a profound impact on their functions. We focus here on peptide amphiphile supramolecular polymers developed in our laboratory and use recent results on their dynamic behavior to reflect on the exciting functions that might emerge in these systems. We are greatly motivated by recent results that demonstrate unprecedented bioactivity in supramolecular polymers to address the enormous scientific challenge of finding strategies to reverse paralysis caused by traumatic injuries or disease. We suggest that future opportunities exist for novel functions in supramolecular polymers by tuning dynamic behavior through the chemical design of monomers, and also by gaining an understanding of the precise spatiotemporal mechanisms linked to supramolecular motion in these emerging polymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-880
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Polymer Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2023


  • biomaterials
  • dynamics
  • photoactuation
  • spinal cord injury
  • spiropyran
  • supramolecular motion
  • supramolecular polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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