Template-assisted hydrogelation of a dynamic covalent polyviologen-based supramolecular architecture via donor-acceptor interactions

H. F. Nour*, T. El Malah, T. A. Khattab, M. A. Olson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A novel polyviologen-based molecular architecture was developed via the step-growth polymerization of a hydroxyl-substituted aryl dihydrazide with a water soluble viologen-dialdehyde in water under acidic conditions. When polymerized in the presence of π-electron rich aromatic templates, the reaction mixture underwent hydrogelation. The templates were found to facilitate monomer-monomer as well as monomer-polymer preorganization during polymerization via donor-acceptor charge transfer interactions. Following polymerization, the templates effectively served as post-synthetic non-covalent cross linkers connecting the hydrogel network. The chemical structures of the polymers and molecular recognition between the reacting species were investigated in solution using 1H NMR, while donor-acceptor charge transfer interactions were investigated using UV-vis absorption spectroscopy. We also report the hydrochromic behavior of the templated and non-templated polymers. The surface morphology of the polymers was characterized using scanning electron microscopy, which revealed the formation of sheet-like structures. The new hydrogels developed in this work represents an interesting example of materials comprised of reversible dynamic covalent bonds and reversible non-covalent crosslinking interactions occurring between the electron-rich aryl templates and the electron-deficient bipyridinium units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100289
JournalMaterials Today Chemistry
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipyridinium
  • Charge transfer
  • Hydrochromism
  • Polymer
  • Rheology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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