University of Cambridge > > Chemistry Departmental-wide lectures > Nanostructures Prepared from Self-Assembly of Pillararene-Based Macrocyclic Amphiphiles and Supramolecular Amphiphiles

Nanostructures Prepared from Self-Assembly of Pillararene-Based Macrocyclic Amphiphiles and Supramolecular Amphiphiles

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Inspired by the natural phospholipid bilayer nanostructure, which is an important part of the cell membrane, various functional groups were introduced into pillararene-based macrocyclic amphiphiles, endowing their self-assemblies with interesting applications.1,2 For example, we designed and synthesized an amphiphilic pillar5arene containing five amino groups as the hydrophilic head and five alkyl chains as the hydrophobic tail.1a It self-assembled into well-defined nanovesicles under neutral conditions in 1 minute, and gradually transformed into microtubes after standing for 4 months. The nanovesicles were used in the controlled release of small molecules and the microtubes could be used to adsorb TNT . Similarly, “sweet nanotubes” were obtained from self-assembly of a sugar-functionalized macrocyclic amphiphile.2b These sweet nanotubes were utilized as excellent cell glues to agglutinate and inhibit the motility of pathogenic cells E. coli.

Pillararene-based host-guest interactions were employed to construct a series of supramolecular amphiphiles not only in organic solvent but also in water.3 For example, we constructed a novel supramolecular amphiphile based on a pillar6arene and an azobenzene-containing guest in an organic solvent, which underwent a photoresponsive threading-dethreading switch upon UV and visible light irradiation due to the trans−cis photoisomerization of the guest, accompanied by disassembly and assembly of the corresponding aggregates.3a

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