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Exploring molecular recognition pathways in one- and two-component gels formed by dendritic lysine-based gelators

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Soft Matter
Issue number12
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)3399-3406
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper provides an integrated overview of the factors which control gelation in a family of dendritic gelators based on lysine building blocks. In particular, we establish that higher generation systems are more effective gelators, amide linkages in the dendron are better than carbamates, and long alkyl chain surface groups and a carboxylic acid at the focal point enhance gelation. The gels are best formed in relatively low polarity solvents with no hydrogen bond donor ability and limited hydrogen bond acceptor capacity. The dendrons with acid groups at the focal point can form two component gels with diaminododecane, and in this case, it is the lower generation dendrons which can avoid steric hindrance and form more effective gels. The stereochemistry of lysine is crucial in self-assembly, with opposite enantiomers disrupting each other's molecular recognition pathways. For the two-component system, stoichiometry is key, if too much diamine is present, dendron-stabilised microcrystals of the diamine begin to form. Interestingly, gelation still occurs in this case, and the systems with amides/alkyl chains are more effective gels, as a consequence of enhanced dendron-dendron intermolecular interactions allowing the microcrystals to form an interconnected network.