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Issue 31, 2013
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A left-handed building block self-assembles into right- and left-handed helices

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Abstract

Self-assembly, the process by which building blocks spontaneously form an ordered structure, has become a key concept in soft matter science. In self-assembly, the physical properties of the building blocks determine the structure of the assembly. For example, the pitch and handedness of a self-assembled helix depend on the interactions between its constituent particles. There are many nanoscale building blocks of a single handedness that self-assemble into both left- and right-handed structures, but there is currently no model system that explains this ambiguous relationship between building block chirality and assembly chirality. Here we report the discovery of a family of left-handed building blocks that self-assemble into helices whose handedness can be tuned by a single building block parameter. In simulations, pairs of Paramonov–Yaliraki ellipsoids rigidly bound in a biphenyl-like arrangement self-assemble into helices. Adjusting the dihedral angle between the ellipsoids without altering the building block handedness was sufficient to produce both right- and left-handed helices. This model system should provide design insights for supramolecular assemblies of nanoscale structures with adjustable internal dihedral angles.

Graphical abstract: A left-handed building block self-assembles into right- and left-handed helices

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Apr 2013, accepted on 30 May 2013 and first published on 31 May 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA41813H
Citation: RSC Adv., 2013,3, 12905-12908
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    A left-handed building block self-assembles into right- and left-handed helices

    S. W. Olesen, S. N. Fejer, D. Chakrabarti and D. J. Wales, RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 12905
    DOI: 10.1039/C3RA41813H

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