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We have established a new strategy to produce functional organic nanotubes of controlled structure from cyclic peptide/polymer conjugates. The structure guiding cyclic peptide motif was coupled to the polymeric chains viacopper-catalyzed azide–alkyne click reaction, to yield very well-defined conjugates. The resulting conjugates were then self-assembled into nanotubes in solution. We were able to control to some extent the length of the nanotubes, by modifying the length of the polymer chain as well as by mixing conjugates of different molecular weights together. In a similar fashion we were able to prepare functional tubes from a range of polymers including poly(butyl acrylate), poly(dimethyl aminoethyl acrylate), poly(acrylic acid), poly(styrene) and poly(hydroxyl ethyl acrylate), as well as tubes with mixed functionality, by self-assembling a mixture of conjugates of differing polymer functionality. This modular approach is a powerful technique to generate a large number of nanotubes of varying size and functionality, in a controlled and rapid process. We believe this new approach will permit the design of a wide range of functional organic nanotubes of controlled structure, in a simple and efficient process.
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