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To Fold or to Assemble?

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journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2003, 00:00 by Wei Wang, Lin-Song Li, Greg Helms, Hong-Hui Zhou, Alexander D. Q. Li
We introduce a new class of foldable oligomers consisting of alternating rigid and flexible regions. The rigid segments overlap to give π-stacked folded conformers whose formation is driven mostly by π−π molecular orbital overlaps. As the oligomer concentration increases, the folded molecular structures further self-assemble into larger nanostructures. The dynamic processes of folding and self-organization are monitored with absorption, fluorescence, and NMR spectroscopies. Our results show that folding dominates at low concentrations (<∼1 mM) and precedes self-assembly, which occurs over the initial concentration range of ∼1−100 mM.