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Molecular gelators are currently receiving a great deal of attention. These are small molecules which, under the appropriate conditions, assemble in solution to, in the majority of cases, give long fibrillar structures which entangle to form a three-dimensional network. This immobilises the solvent, resulting in a gel. Such gelators have potential application in a number of important areas from drug delivery to tissue engineering. Recently, the use of peptide-conjugates has become prevalent with oligopeptides (from as short as two amino acids in length) conjugated to a polymer, alkyl chain or aromatic group such as naphthalene or fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl (Fmoc) being shown to be effective molecular gelators. The field of gelation is extremely large; here we focus our attention on the use of these peptide-conjugates as molecular hydrogelators.
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