Controlled Sol-Gel and Diversiform Nanostructure Transitions by Photoresponsive Molecular Switching of Tetraphenylethene- And Azobenzene-Functionalized Organogelators

Reguram Arumugaperumal, Wei Ling Hua, Putikam Raghunath, Ming Chang Lin, Wen Sheng Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The implementation of stimuli-responsive materials with dynamically controllable features has long been an important objective that challenges chemists in the materials science field. We report here the synthesis and characterization of [2]rotaxanes (R1 and R1-b) with a molecular shuttle and photoresponsive properties. Axles T1 and T1-b were found to be highly efficient and versatile organogelators toward various nonpolar organic solvents, especially p-xylene, with critical gelation concentrations as low as 0.67 and 0.38 w/v %, respectively. The two molecular stations of switchable [2]rotaxanes (R1 and R1-b) can be revealed or concealed by t-butylcalix[4]arene macrocycle, thus inhibiting the gelation processes of the respective axles T1 and T1-b through the control of intermolecular hydrogen-bonding interactions. The sol-gel transition of axles T1 and T1-b could be achieved by the irradiation of UV-visible light, which interconverted between the extended and contracted forms. Interestingly, the morphologies of organogels in p-xylene, including flakes, nanobelts, fibers, and vesicles depending on the molecular structures of axles T1 and T1-b, were induced by UV-visible light irradiation. Further studies revealed that acid-base-controllable and reversible self-assembled nanostructures of these axle molecules were mainly constructed by the interplay of multi-noncovalent interactions, such as intermolecular π-πstacking, CH-π, and intermolecular hydrogen-bonding interactions. Surprisingly, our TPE molecular systems (R1, R1-b, T1, and T1-b) are nonemissive in their aggregated states, suggesting that not only fluorescence resonance energy transfer but also aggregation-caused quenching may have been functioning. Finally, the mechanical strength of these organogels in various solvents was monitored by rheological experiments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • calix[4]arene
  • diversiform structures
  • photoresponsive
  • sol-gel transitions
  • supergelators
  • tetraphenylethene-based [2]rotaxanes

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