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Over the past decade, major progress in supramolecular polymerization has had a substantial effect on the design of functional soft materials. However, despite recent advances, most studies are still based on a preconceived notion that supramolecular polymerization follows a step-growth mechanism, which precludes control over chain length, sequence, and stereochemical structure. Here we report the realization of chain-growth polymerization by designing metastable monomers with a shape-promoted intramolecular hydrogen-bonding network. The monomers are conformationally restricted from spontaneous polymerization at ambient temperatures but begin to polymerize with characteristics typical of a living mechanism upon mixing with tailored initiators. The chain growth occurs stereoselectively and therefore enables optical resolution of a racemic monomer.


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