Remote control over folding by light
Integrating stimulus-responsive components into macromolecular architectures is a versatile strategy to create smart materials that can be controlled by external stimuli and even adapt to their environment. Helical foldamers, which are omnipresent in Nature and display well-defined yet dynamic structures, serve as an ideal platform to integrate photoswitches to modulate their conformations by light. This feature article summarizes the development of photoswitchable foldamers, focussing on various design approaches that incorporate the photoswitches either at the side chains, as tethered loops, or directly in the main chain. Based on the emerging insight into the folding–switching relationship more advanced molecular designs should enable the development of photoresponsive foldamers with high sensitivity to control and power functional macromolecular and supramolecular systems.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Foldamers