Research Article

Supramolecular Materials: Self-Organized Nanostructures

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Science  18 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5311, pp. 384-389
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5311.384

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Miniaturized triblock copolymers have been found to self-assemble into nanostructures that are highly regular in size and shape. Mushroom-shaped supramolecular structures of about 200 kilodaltons form by crystallization of the chemically identical blocks and self-organize into films containing 100 or more layers stacked in a polar arrangement. The polar supramolecular material exhibits spontaneous second-harmonic generation from infrared to green photons and has an adhesive tape–like character with nonadhesive-hydrophobic and hydrophilic-sticky opposite surfaces. The films also have reasonable shear strength and adhere tenaciously to glass surfaces on one side only. The regular and finite size of the supramolecular units is believed to be mediated by repulsive forces among some of the segments in the triblock molecules. A large diversity of multifunctional materials could be formed from regular supramolecular units weighing hundreds of kilodaltons.

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