Amphiphilic dendrimers as building blocks in supramolecular assemblies

A.P.H.J. Schenning, C. Roman Vas, J.W. Weener, M.W.P.L. Baars, S.J. Gaast, van der, E.W. Meijer

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The self-assembly of amphiphilic dendrimers based on poly(propylene imine) dendrimers of five different generations with up to 64 end groups modified with long hydrophobic chains has been studied. At the air-water interface stable monolayers form in which the dendritic surfactants presumably adopt a cylindrical shape; all the chains are aligned perpendicular to the water surface, and the dendritic poly(propylene imine) core faces the aq. phase. Electron microscopy and dynamic light-scattering measurements performed on aq. solns. of the amphiphiles at pH = 1 showed the formation of small spherical aggregates with diams. varying between 20 and 200 nm. X-ray diffraction of cast films of these aggregates revealed bilayer thicknesses of 48-54 .ANG.. A phase transition was detected by measuring fluorescence anisotropy. The theor. vols. of the dendritic amphiphiles were in good agreement with those calcd. from the monolayer expts. and X-ray diffraction data. Hence, the amphiphilic dendrimers within the aggregates in soln. have the same highly asym. conformation as that proposed at the air-water interface. Calcns. showed that the shape of the dendritic poly(propylene imine) core in the aggregates is distorted and that the axial ratio (rb:ra) ranges from 1:2.5 for the first generation to approx. 1:8 for the three highest generations. This behavior illustrates the high flexibility of the poly(propylene imine) dendrimers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8199-8218
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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