HERMANS Thomas

Controlling supramolecular assembly by “tunable anti-cooperativity”

 

Well-defined discrete supramolecular assemblies are highly desired in the fields of nanomedicine, materials science, and catalysis. Unfortunately, the most common supramolecular polymerization mechanisms lead to assemblies with a large polydispersity.

A unique exception is anti-cooperative growth, a polymerization mechanism that can lead to monodisperse supramolecular polymers by balancing attractive and repulsive interactions encoded in the chemical structure of the assembling molecules.

Here, we propose to extend this approach by tuning the degree of anti-cooperativity using magnetic fields. We will increase the attractive interaction by aligning the magnetic moments of the assembling molecules (i.e., promoting growth), and at the same time regulate electrostatic repulsion (i.e., causing the growth to stop). 

In this way we expect to obtain discrete monodisperse assemblies with a predefined / tunable size, which should facilitate further ordering into highly regular supramolecular materials.