Chemically programmed self-sorting of gelator networks

Morris, K. L. et al. (2013) Chemically programmed self-sorting of gelator networks. Nature Communications, 4, p. 1480. (doi: 10.1038/ncomms2499) (PMID:23403581)

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Controlling the order and spatial distribution of self-assembly in multicomponent supramolecular systems could underpin exciting new functional materials, but it is extremely challenging. When a solution of different components self-assembles, the molecules can either coassemble, or self-sort, where a preference for like-like intermolecular interactions results in coexisting, homomolecular assemblies. A challenge is to produce generic and controlled ‘one-pot’ fabrication methods to form separate ordered assemblies from ‘cocktails’ of two or more self-assembling species, which might have relatively similar molecular structures and chemistry. Self-sorting in supramolecular gel phases is hence rare. Here we report the first example of the pH-controlled self-sorting of gelators to form self-assembled networks in water. Uniquely, the order of assembly can be predefined. The assembly of each component is preprogrammed by the pKa of the gelator. This pH-programming method will enable higher level, complex structures to be formed that cannot be accessed by simple thermal gelation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Adams, Dave
Authors: Morris, K. L., Chen, L., Raeburn, J., Sellick, O. R., Cotanda, P., Paul, A., Griffiths, P. C., King, S. M., O’Reilly, R. K., Serpell, L. C., and Adams, D. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Published Online:12 February 2013

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