Macromolecular Rapid Communications
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The temperature-dependent depolymerization of self-immolative poly(ethyl glyoxylate) (PEtG) capped with triphenylmethyl (trityl) groups was studied and its potential application for smart packaging was explored. PEtGs with four different trityl end-caps were prepared and found to undergo depolymerization to volatile products from the solid state at different rates depending on temperature and the electron-donating substituents on the trityl aromatic rings. Through the incorporation of hydrophobic dyes including Nile red and IR-780, the depolymerization was visualized as a color change of the dye as it changed from a dispersed to aggregated state. The ability of this platform to provide information on thermal history through an easily readable signal makes it promising in smart packaging applications for sensitive products such a food and other cargo that is susceptible to degradation.