Pyrene-based fluorescent ambidextrous gelators: scaffolds for mechanically robust SWNT-gel nanocomposites

Mandal, Deep ; Kar, Tanmoy ; Das, Prasanta Kumar (2014) Pyrene-based fluorescent ambidextrous gelators: scaffolds for mechanically robust SWNT-gel nanocomposites Chemistry - A European Journal, 20 (5). pp. 1349-1358. ISSN 0947-6539

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With the rapid progress in the development of supramolecular soft materials, examples of low-molecular-weight gelators (LMWGs) with the ability to immobilise both water and organic solvents by the same structural scaffold are very limited. In this paper, we report the development of pyrene-containing peptide-based ambidextrous gelators (AGs) with the ability to efficiently gelate both organic and aqueous solvents. The organo- and hydrogelation efficiencies of these gelators are in the range 0.7–1.1 % w/v in various organic solvents and 0.5–5 % w/v in water at certain acidic pH values (pH 2.0–4.0). Moreover, for the first time, AGs have been utilised to prepare single-walled carbon-nanotube (SWNT)-included soft nanocomposites in both hydro- and organogel matrices. The influence of different non-covalent interactions such as hydrogen bonding, hydrophobic, π–π and van der Waals interactions in self-assembled gelation has been studied in detail by circular dichroism, FTIR, variable-temperature NMR, 2D NOESY and luminescence spectroscopy. Interestingly, the presence of the pyrene moiety in the structure rendered these AGs intrinsically fluorescent, which was quenched upon successful integration of the SWNTs within the gel. The prepared hydro- and organogels along with their SWNT-integrated nanocomposites are thermoreversible in nature. The supramolecular morphologies of the dried gels and SWNT–gel nanocomposites have been studied by transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy and polarising optical microscopy, which confirmed the presence of three-dimensional self-assembled fibrillar networks (SAFINs) as well as the integrated SWNTs. Importantly, rheological studies revealed that the inclusion of SWNTs within the ambidextrous gels improved the mechanical rigidity of the resulting soft nanocomposites up to 3.8-fold relative to the native gels.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Keywords:Fluorescence; Gels; Mechanical Rigidity; Nanocomposites; Self-Assembly
ID Code:108567
Deposited On:01 Feb 2018 11:15
Last Modified:01 Feb 2018 11:15

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