Mechanical Deformation and Multiple Thermal Restoration of Organic Crystals: Reversible Multi-Stage Shape-Changing Effect with Luminescence-Color Changes
Shape-memory materials can be mechanically deformed and subsequently reverse the deformation upon changing the temperature. Shape-memory materials have attracted considerable attention for basic research and industrial applications, and polymer and alloy shape-memory materials have been well studied; however, it is formidably challenging to develop functional shape-memory materials, such as materials with multi-stage and anisotropic shape changes and shape changes accompanied by changes in color and light emission. Here, we found a reversible multi-stage shape-changing effect after mechanical deformation in a molecular crystal induced by multi-step thermal phase transitions with reversible shape changes and luminescence-color changes. Using single-crystal structure and thermal analyses as well as mechanical property measurements, we found that the reversible multi-stage shape-changing effect was achieved by a combination of a twinning deformation and multi-step thermal phase transitions. The changes in the crystal shape and luminescence suggest novel strategies for imparting known shape-memory materials with additional functionalities.