Understanding the molecular mechanism of cooperative self-assembly is a key component in the design of self-assembled supramolecular architectures across multiple length scales with defined function and composition. In this work, we use density functional theory to rationalize the experimentally observed cooperative growth of C3-symmetrical trialkylbenzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide- (BTA-) based supramolecular polymers that self-assemble into ordered one-dimensional supramolecular structures through hydrogen bonding. Our analysis shows that the cooperative growth of these structures is caused by electrostatic interactions and nonadditive effects brought about by redistribution of the electron density with aggregate length.
Filot, I. A. W., Palmans, A. R. A., Hilbers, P. A. J., Santen, van, R. A., Pidko, E. A., & Greef, de, T. F. A. (2010). Understanding cooperativity in hydrogen-bond-induced supramolecular polymerization : a density functional theory study. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 114(43), 13667-13674. https://doi.org/10.1021/jp1072928