Chemical reaction networks (CRNs) that operate under constant influx of energy enable artificial materials to autonomously respond to their environment by activation and deactivation of intermolecular interactions. Generally, their activation can be driven by various energy sources, yet their deactivation to non-interacting building blocks remains largely limited to hydrolysis and internal pH change. To achieve control over deactivation, we developed a new CRN that enables reversible formation of positive charges on a tertiary amine substrate, which are removed using nucleophilic signals that control the deactivation kinetics. Incorporation of the CRN in a polymer material leads to a temporally programmed transition from collapsed and hydrophobic to solvated, hydrophilic polymer chains by controlling polymer-solvent interactions. Depending on the layout of the CRN, we can create stimuli-responsive or autonomously responding materials. This concept will not only offer new opportunities in molecular cargo delivery but also pave the way for next-generation interactive materials.
Supporting Information - Temporally programmed polymer - solvent interactions using a chemical reaction network