Bolaamphiphiles bearing bipyridine as mesogenic core: rational exploitation of molecular architectures for controlled self-assembly

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A bolaamphiphile (5,5-B2NBr8) bearing a functional bipyridine moiety as the mesogenic core is reported for the first time. 5,5-B2NBr8 was found to self-assemble into uniform fibrous structure in aqueous solution, when the concentration was higher than cmc. Analogues of 5,5-B2NBr8 with structural differences in chain length, headgroup, mesogenic core, and substituted position were synthesized, elucidating that small variances of the molecular structure could lead to dramatic changes of the resulting assemblies. For example, compound 4,4-B2NBr8 showed only spherical colloidal aggregates rather than fibers as 5,5-B2NBr8 did, while the only difference between them was the position at which the alkyl chains were attached onto bipyridine. A probable model for the fibrous structure of 5,5-B2NBr8 was proposed. Moreover, exploiting the coordination capacity of bipyridine, assembly and disassembly of 5,5-B2NBr8 could be reversibly controlled through the addition of EDTA and Cu(II), respectively.

Guanglu Wu
Guanglu Wu
Principal Investigator

Research interests: multi-component functional assemblies, supramolecular catalysis, and smart soft matter