Focus on: Supramolecular Polymerisation

This month we focus on three articles appearing in Polymer Chemistry which report various types of Supramolecular Polymerisation. Supramolecular polymers are polymers formed through reversible non-covalent bonds, such as hydrogen bonding, π-π interactions, coordination and host-guest interactions. Advantages of supramolecular polymers include self-healing properties, improved processability, degradability and recyclability; these materials have found applications in fields including optoelectronics, tissue engineering, drug delivery, gene transfection, self healing films and networks to name a few. The articles highlighted this month demonstrate supramolecular polymerisation directed by coordination and host-guest interactions.

Graphical abstract

1. Ligand effects on cooperative supramolecular polymerization of platinum(II) acetylide complexes
Zhao Gao, Junlong Zhu, Yifei Han, Xiaoqin Lv, Xiaolong Zhang, Feng Wang
Polym. Chem., 2016, 7, 5763-5767; DOI: 10.1039/C6PY01440B

The authors present the formation of helical nano-fibers and organogels by supramolecular polymerisation of a rod-like platinum(II) acetylide monomer with less bulky ligand substituents. The self-assembly mechanism was found to be through a cooperative nucleation–elongation mechanism, and the more-bulky monomers showed no aggregation. These results highlight the importance of minor monomer variations on the supramolecular polymerisation mechanism.

2. Supramolecular main-chain polycatenanes formed by orthogonal metal ion coordination and pillar[5]arene-based host–guest interaction
Hao Xing and Bingbing Shi
Polym. Chem., 2016, 7, 6159-6163; DOI: 10.1039/C6PY01617K

The combination of catenanes and supramolecular polymers has been reported here, where the authors show the orthogonal use of coordination between zinc ions and terpyridyl groups and pillar[5]arene host-guest interactions. The materials exhibited glue-sol transitions with a change of temperature or hydroxide ion concentration. The mechanical properties were assessed by rheology, which showed improvement compared with a supramolecular polymer without catenane functionality.

3. Pillar[5]arene-based amphiphilic supramolecular brush copolymers: fabrication, controllable self-assembly and application in self-imaging targeted drug delivery
Guocan Yu, Run Zhao, Dan Wu, Fuwu Zhang, Li Shao, Jiong Zhou, Jie Yang, Guping Tang, Xiaoyuan Chen Feihe Huang
Polym. Chem., 2016, 7, 6178-6188; DOI: 10.1039/C6PY01402J

Supramolecular brush copolymers were prepared utilising host-guest interactions between pillar[5]arene and a viologen salt. The supramolecular brush copolymers self-assembled into single chain nanoparticles which were fluorescent due to the aggregation-induced emission effect. Doxorubicin loading was achieved and biotin labelling resulted in targeted drug delivery and imaging capabilities. The single-chain nanoparticles showed excellent anti-tumour efficacy with limited systemic toxicity in vivo.


About the webwriterFiona Hatton

Dr. Fiona Hatton is a web writer for Polymer Chemistry. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Armes group at the University of Sheffield, UK. Find her on Twitter: @fi_hat

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