Selection of diverse polymorphic structures from a small dynamic molecular network controlled by the environment†
The complex interplay between systems and their environment plays an important role in processes ranging from self-assembly to evolution. Polymorphism, where, from the same ingredients different products can be formed, is likely to be an important enabler for evolutionary adaptation. Environmental pressures may induce polymorphic behaviour, where different pressures result in different structural organisation. Here we show that by combining covalent and non-covalent bond formation three distinct polymorphs can emerge from the same small dynamic molecular network: vesicular aggregates, self-replicating fibres and nanoribbons, depending on the nature of the solvent environment. Additionally, a particular set of conditions allows the transient co-existence of both vesicles and fibres.