Does Supramolecular Gelation Require an External Trigger?

Ruben Van Lommel, Julie Van Hooste, Johannes Vandaele, Gert Steurs, Tom Van der Donck, Frank De Proft, Susana Rocha, Dimitrios Sakellariou, Mercedes Alonso, Wim M. De Borggraeve

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review

Samenvatting

The supramolecular gelation of small molecules is typically preceded by an external stimulus to trigger the self-assembly. The need for this trigger stems from the metastable nature of most supramolecular gels and can limit their applicability. Herein, we present a small urea-based molecule that spontaneously forms a stable hydrogel by simple mixing without the addition of an external trigger. Single particle tracking experiments and observations made from scanning electron microscopy indicated that triggerless gelation occurred in a similar fashion as the archetypical heat-triggered gelation. These results could stimulate the search for other supramolecular hydrogels that can be obtained by simple mixing. Furthermore, the mechanism of the heat-triggered supramolecular gelation was elucidated by a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and quantitative NMR experiments. Surprisingly, hydrogelation seemingly occurs via a stepwise self-assembly in which spherical nanoparticles mature into an entangled fibrillary network.
Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer813
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftGels (Basel, Switzerland)
Volume8
Nummer van het tijdschrift12
DOI's
StatusPublished - 10 dec 2022

Bibliografische nota

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

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