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Bioinspired Suprahelical Frameworks as Scaffolds for Artificial Photosynthesis

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journal contribution
posted on 29.09.2020 by Kai Tao, Bin Xue, Shuyi Han, Ruth Aizen, Linda J. W. Shimon, Zhengyu Xu, Yi Cao, Deqing Mei, Wei Wang, Ehud Gazit
Framework materials have shown promising potential in various biological applications. However, the state-of-the-art components show low biocompatibility or mechanical instability, or cannot integrate both optics and electronics, thus severely limiting their extensive applications in biological systems. Herein, we demonstrate that amide-based bioorganic building blocks, including dipeptides and dipeptide nucleic acids, can self-assemble into hydrogen-bonded suprahelix architectures of controllable handedness, which then form suprahelical frameworks with diverse cavities. Especially, the cavities can be tuned to be hydrophilic or hydrophobic, and the shortest diagonal distance can be modulated from 0.5 to 1.8 nm, with the volume proportion in the unit cell changing from 5 to 60%. Furthermore, the hydrogen bonding networks result in high mechanical rigidity and semiconductively optoelectronic properties, which allow the utilization of the suprahelical frameworks as supramolecular scaffolds for artificial photosynthesis. Our findings reveal amide-based suprahelix architectures acting as bioinspired supramolecular frameworks, thus extending the constituents portfolio and increasing the feasibility of using framework materials for biological applications.