The rise of graphene, a natural two-dimensional polymer (2DP) with topologically planar repeat units, has challenged synthetic chemistry, and has highlighted that accessing equivalent covalently bonded sheet-like macromolecules has, until recently, not been achieved. Here we show that non-centrosymmetric, enantiomorphic single crystals of a simple-to-make monomer can be photochemically converted into chiral 2DP crystals and cleanly reversed back to the monomer. X-ray diffraction established unequivocal structural proof for this synthetic 2DP, which has an all-carbon scaffold and can be synthesized on the gram scale. The monomer crystals are highly robust, can be easily grown to sizes greater than 1 mm and the resulting 2DP crystals exfoliated into nanometre-thin sheets. This unique combination of features suggests that these 2DPs could find use in membranes and nonlinear optics.
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Crystallographic information files
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Crystallographic data for compound 1-partially polymerized
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Crystallographic data for compound 1-polymer
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Crystallographic data for compound 1-polymer-annealed
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Crystallographic data for compound 1_depolymerized