Tuning the length of cooperative supramolecular polymers under thermodynamic control

Ghislaine Vantomme (Corresponding author), Gijs M. ter Huurne, Chidambar Kulkarni, Huub M.M. ten Eikelder (Corresponding author), Albert J. Markvoort, Anja R.A. Palmans, E.W. Meijer (Corresponding author)

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review

11 Citaten (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


In the field of supramolecular (co)polymerizations, the ability to predict and control the composition and length of the supramolecular (co)polymers is a topic of great interest. In this work, we elucidate the mechanism that controls the polymer length in a two-component cooperative supramolecular polymerization and unveil the role of the second component in the system. We focus on the supramolecular copolymerization between two derivatives of benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide (BTA) monomers: a-BTA and Nle-BTA. As a single component, a-BTA cooperatively polymerizes into long supramolecular polymers, whereas Nle-BTA only forms dimers. By mixing a-BTA and Nle-BTA in different ratios, two-component systems are obtained, which are analyzed in-depth by combining spectroscopy and light-scattering techniques with theoretical modeling. The results show that the length of the supramolecular polymers formed by a-BTA is controlled by competitive sequestration of a-BTA monomers by Nle-BTA, while the obvious alternative Nle-BTA acts as a chain-capper is not operative. This sequestration of a-BTA leads to short, stable species coexisting with long cooperative aggregates. The analysis of the experimental data by theoretical modeling elucidates the thermodynamic parameters of the copolymerization, the distributions of the various species, and the composition and length of the supramolecular polymers at various mixing ratios of a-BTA and Nle-BTA. Moreover, the model was used to generalize our results and to predict the impact of adding a chain-capper or a competitor on the length of the cooperative supramolecular polymers under thermodynamic control. Overall, this work unveils comprehensive guidelines to master the nature of supramolecular (co)polymers and brings the field one step closer to applications.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)18278-18285
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftJournal of the American Chemical Society
Nummer van het tijdschrift45
StatusGepubliceerd - 22 okt 2019

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