Christopher Bowman have further exploited the reversibility of the Diels-Alder (DA) reaction reaction by combining the facile formation of a DA molecular scaffold with spatially and temporally selective photo-polymerization. Their invention provides a method for “fixation” (photo-fixation, when light-activated) of otherwise reversible DA crosslinks in a polymer network. The use of photopolymerization on an existing DA macromolecular scaffold reduces deleterious transport effects of conventional photopolymerization in liquid monomer, while maintaining the advantages of high conversion and rapid reaction kinetics.
These photofixed materials and the photolithographic strategy employed to make them have far reaching implications in the field of photopolymerization. Any application that can benefit from spatial and temporal control of polymerization reactions will be greatly enhanced by the simplicity of this fixation technology. Just a few of the many possible applications of this type of 3D polymerization control include 3D prototyping and printing, microfabrication, and flexographic printing.
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