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One-Component Gels Based on Peptidic Dendrimers:  Dendritic Effects on Materials Properties

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journal contribution
posted on 03.08.2004, 00:00 by Christine S. Love, Andrew R. Hirst, Victor Chechik, David K. Smith, Ian Ashworth, Colin Brennan
This paper describes the gelation of symmetric dendrimers based on building blocks constructed from l-lysine. These dendrimers form gel-phase materials in nonpolar organic solvents. The thermal properties and concentration dependence of the gelation were investigated, and it was found that there was a clear dendritic effect on the behavior of the soft materials formed, with higher generation dendrimers giving rise to more thermally stable gels. Variable temperature 1H NMR studies indicated that this behavior was probably a consequence of more extensive interdendrimer hydrogen bonding occurring between the peptidic groups in the higher generation dendrimers. The supramolecular aggregates were found to have a fibrillar structure, with the dimensions and alignment of the fibers being dependent on dendritic generation. Circular dichroism measurements confirmed that these fibers possessed chiral organization of the peptidic groups on the supramolecular (nano) scale, assigned as helicity. This paper indicates that dendritic functionalization provides a useful way of tuning gel-phase materials properties, with clear dendritic effects on gel formation being quantified for the first time, hence illustrating the way dendritic functionalization can play a positive role in the formation of highly functional organic materials with desirable properties.