Aqueous interfacial gels assembled from small molecule supramolecular polymers
The self-assembly of a stimuli-responsive aqueous supramolecular hyperbranched polymer from small molecules is reported. This system is composed of ditopic and tritopic guest-functionalised molecules that are able to form heteroternary supramolecular complexes with the macrocyclic host cucurbituril (CB). We demonstrate that the supramolecular hyperbranched polymer formed is responsive to both photo- and chemical stimuli, exhibiting reversibility. Furthermore, this system is shown to assemble at liquid–liquid interfaces, which upon gelation, is observable on the micrometre scale. This self-healing supramolecular network can act as a soft matter barrier for aqueous microdroplets, inhibiting their coalescence.