Although living supramolecular polymerization (LSP) has recently been realized, the scope of the monomer structures applicable to the existing methods is still limited. For instance, a monomer that spontaneously nucleates itself cannot be processed in a manner consistent with LSP. Herein, we report a new method for such a "reactive" monomer. We use a 'dummy' monomer which has a similar structure to the reactive monomer but is incapable of one-dimensional supramolecular polymerization. We show that in the presence of the dummy monomer, the reactive monomer is kinetically trapped in the dormant state. In this way, spontaneous nucleation of the reactive monomer is retarded; yet, addition of seeds of a supramolecular polymer can initiate the supramolecular polymerization in a chain growth manner. As a result, we obtain the supramolecular polymer of the reactive monomer with a controlled length, which is otherwise thermodynamically inaccessible. We believe that this concept will expand the scope of LSP for the synthesis of other functional supramolecular polymers, and thus lead to a variety of applications.
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