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Preparation and Characterization of a Polymer-Based “Molecular Accordion”

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journal contribution
posted on 02.03.2016, 00:00 by Abdalla H. Karoyo, Lee D. Wilson
A urethane-based polymer material, denoted HDI-1, was obtained from the addition reaction of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) with 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) at the 1:1 mole ratio. In aqueous solution and ambient temperature conditions, HDI-1 adopts a compact (coiled) morphology where the cross-linker units become coiled and are partially self-included in the annular hydroxyl (interstitial) region of β-CD. As the temperature is raised or as p-nitrophenol (PNP) was included within the β-CD cavity and the noninclusion sites of the polymer, an extended (uncoiled) morphology was adopted. The equilibrium distribution between the extended and the compact forms of HDI-1 is thermally and chemically switchable, in accordance with the hydration properties and host–guest chemistry of this responsive polymer system. The molecular structure of this water-soluble urethane polymer and its host–guest complexes with PNP were investigated using spectroscopic (Raman, 1H NMR, induced circular dichroism), dynamic light scattering (DLS), and calorimetric (DSC) methods in aqueous solution at ambient pH, and compared with native β-CD. This study reports on the unique supramolecular properties of a polymer that resembles a thermally and chemically responsive “molecular accordion”.