Molecular Engineering of the Kinetic Barrier in Seeded Supramolecular Polymerization

Qin Huang, Nicolas Cissé, Marc C A Stuart, Yaroslava Lopatina, Tibor Kudernac*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Seeded supramolecular polymerization (SSP) is a method that enables the controlled synthesis of supramolecular structures. SSP often relies on structures that are capable of self-assembly by interconverting between intramolecular and intermolecular modes of hydrogen bonding, characterized by a given kinetic barrier that is typically low. The control of the polymerization process is thus limited by the propensity of the hydrogen bonds to interconvert between the intramolecular and intermolecular modes of binding. Here, we report on an engineering of the polymerization kinetic barriers by sophisticated molecular design of the building blocks involved in such SSP processes. Our designs include two types of intramolecular hydrogen-bonded rings: on one hand, a central triazine tricarboxamide moiety that prevents self-assembly due to its stable intramolecular hydrogen bonds and on the other hand, three peripheral amide groups that promote self-assembly due to their stable intermolecular hydrogen bonds. We report a series of molecules with increasing bulkiness of the peripheral side chains exhibiting increasing kinetic stability in the monomeric form. Owing to the relative height of the barrier, we were able to observe that the rate constant of seeding is not proportional to the concentration of the seeds used. Based on that, we proposed a new kinetic model in which the rate-determining step is the activation of the monomer, and we provide the detailed energy landscape of the supramolecular polymerization process. Finally, we investigated the hetero-seeding of the building blocks that shows either inhibition or triggering of the polymerization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10482
Pages (from-to)5053-5060
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number9
Early online date24-Feb-2023
Publication statusPublished - 8-Mar-2023

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