Control of supramolecular nanoassemblies by tuning the interactions of bent-shaped rod–coil molecules
Rod–coil molecules 1a, 1b and 2a, 2b, consisting of biphenyl and phenyl units connected by an acetylene bond as the rod segment and oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) as the coil segment, were synthesized and characterized. Molecules 1a and 1b incorporate a butoxy group at the apex of their bent-shaped rigid building blocks, while both 1b and 2b contain a lateral methyl group between the rod and coil segments. The self-assembling behavior of these molecules was investigated using DSC, SAXS, CD, AFM, and TEM in bulk and aqueous solutions. In the bulk state, 1a self-assembles into oblique columnar structures, whereas 1b, incorporating butoxy and lateral methyl groups, self-assembles into three-dimensional body-centered tetragonal structures. Molecules 2a and 2b with no butoxy groups, and 2b incorporating a lateral methyl group, self-assemble into hexagonal perforated lamellar and oblique columnar structures, respectively. In dilute aqueous solutions, 1a assembles into tubular nanoassemblies, while 1b self-organizes into micelles and nanoparticles. On the other hand, 2a and 2b spontaneously aggregate into nanoribbons and nanofibers. Furthermore, CD experiments together with AFM investigations of 2b indicate the creation of self-organized helical fibers, implying that the lateral methyl group induces the helical stacking of the rod building block. These results reveal that the butoxy and lateral methyl groups between the rod and coil segments dramatically influence the creation of supramolecular nanostructures and morphologies.