Wavelength-selective light-matter interactions in polymer science
Light has emerged as a prominent stimulus to both generate and manipulate polymeric materials across multiple length scales. Compared to other external stimuli, light-mediated approaches enable unprecedented control over when and where chemical transformations occur (i.e., spatiotemporal control). To date, the majority of established protocols rely on individual wavelengths of light (~monochromatic), which does not harness the full potential of light-matter interactions. This review summarizes the nascent progress in utilizing multiple discrete wavelengths of light as a tool to create and alter soft matter. The concepts are structured in an effort to provide a roadmap to foster new directions in light-based polymer materials chemistry. The physical organic nature of wavelength selectivity is first detailed in the introduction to provide key mechanistic insight and lay a foundation for further developments. Next, an overview of chromophores that undergo various light driven transformations will be presented, followed by their utility in various polymer platforms for controlled synthesis, property manipulation, and advanced manufacturing. The review concludes with a summary and outlook on the exciting future of wavelength selective light-matter interactions in polymer science.