Stimuli-responsive conjugated rod-coil block copolymers have received extensive attention recently because the stimuli-responsive coils, which undergo structure, shape, and property changes as triggered by external signals. They also take the advantages of conjugated rods, which provide tunable structural control and photophysical properties due to their π–π interaction. This review focuses on the recent progress in stimuli-responsive conjugated rod-coil block copolymers on their synthetic routes, stimuli-induced transitions in morphologies, and numerous applications in different fields. We first provide an overview on synthetic methods to prepare copolymers with two major architectures: linear and hyperbranched copolymers. Moreover, the effects of different stimuli on their morphological transitions and their corresponding photophysical properties are summarized. Finally, the promising applications of these block copolymers based on single or multiple stimuli-responsive systems are discussed and highlighted for “intelligent” sensory device and biomedical systems for theranostics.

This paper was originally published in Polymer 65 (2015) Pages A1–A16.

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