Solvent Dielectricity-Modulated Helical Assembly and Morphologic Transformation of Achiral Surfactant-Inorganic Cluster Ionic Complexes

Ionic complexes comprising single/double chain cationic surfactant and Lindqvist-type polyoxomolybdate anionic cluster were used for controlled self-assembly in organic solutions. In the solvent with low dielectric constant the complexes self-assembled into flat ribbon like lamellar aggregations with an inverse bilayer substructure where the cluster located at the middle. Under the condition of increased dielectric constant, the solvent triggered the formation of helical self-assemblies, which finally transformed from helical ribbons to the flower-like assemblies due to the bilayer becoming excessively twisted. The self-assembled morphology and the substructure were characterized by SEM, TEM, and XRD. The solvent dielectricity-controlled morphologic transformations modulated by the variation of electrostatic interactions between organic cations and inorganic polyanions were demonstrated by 1H NMR and IR spectra. The strategy in this work represents an effective route in targeting the chirality-directed functionalization of inorganic clusters by combining controllable and helical assemblies of achiral polyoxometalate complexes in one system.