If we could realize an autonomous polymer system driven under biological conditions by a tailor-made molecular design, human beings could create unprecedented biomimetic functions and materials such as heartbeats, autonomous peristaltic pumps, etc. In order to achieve this objective, we have investigated the molecular design of such a polymer system. As a result, we were the first to demonstrate a self-oscillating polymer system driven in a solution where only malonic acid existed, which could convert the chemical energy of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction into a change in the conformation of the polymer chain. To cause the self-oscillation in solution, we have attempted to construct a built-in system where the required BZ system substrates other than the organic acid are incorporated into the polymer itself. That is, the novel polymer chain incorporated the metal catalyst of the BZ reaction, a pH-control site and an oxidant supply site at the same time. As a result of introducing the pH control and oxidant supply sites into the conventional-type self-oscillating polymer chain, the novel polymer chain caused aggregation-disaggregation self-oscillations in the solution. We clarified that the period of the self-oscillation of the novel self-oscillating polymer chain was proportional to the concentration of the malonic acid. Therefore, the concentration of the malonic acid can be determined by measuring the period of the novel self-oscillating polymer solution. In this review, we introduce the detailed molecular design of the novel self-oscillating polymer chain and its self-oscillating behavior. Moreover, we report an autonomous self-oscillating polymer gel actuator that causes a bending-stretching motion under the constant conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry