The Bis-urea Motif as a Tool To Functionalize Self-Assembled Nanoribbons

Here we present a surfactant molecule (1) containing an ammonium headgroup, in which a bis-ureido group is incorporated in its hydrocarbon chain. Due to strong hydrogen bonding interactions, 1 forms well-defined highly ordered ribbon-like aggregates in water. Moreover, we demonstrate that these ribbons can be functionalized via a modular approach through molecular recognition of other bis-urea containing molecules. The dye disperse orange and biotin were coupled to matching bis-ureido groups and incorporated into the ribbon structure. The anchoring of different functionalities in a modular approach proved to be possible using the molecular recognition capabilities of the bis-ureido moiety, thereby opening possibilities to a wide range of applications.