A strategy for tuning achiral main-chain polymers into helical assemblies and chiral memory systems†
A general strategy to tune the achiral main chain polymers into helical nanoassemblies was proposed based on the co-gelation approach. As an example, two achiral main chain polymers, PCz8 and PSi8, were selected, and their co-assembly with an amphiphilic L- or D-glutamide gelator was investigated. Although the polymers could not form gels individually, they could form co-gels with the gelator and the resultant gels exhibited macroscopic supramolecular chirality, which could be confirmed by CD spectra and SEM observations. Moreover, the supramolecular chirality can be memorized even after the gelator molecules were removed. Remarkably, either the gelator-containing or gelator-free chiral polymer assemblies showed circularly polarized luminescence (CPL), which is usually inherent to intrinsic chiral polymers. It was suggested that during the co-gelation, the chirality of the gelator was transferred to and memorized by the achiral polymers. The approach seems to be general and we provided the first example to tune the achiral polymers into helical assemblies through the co-gelation.