Photo-unfoldable supramolecular nanofibers
One-dimensionally elongated supramolecular fibers composed of protein particles play many important roles in biological systems. The fabrication of such functional nanofibers is one of the challenging topics in materials science. Herein we have successfully devised a synthetic supramolecular fiber whose helical morphology can be unfolded by light irradiation. This supramolecular fiber is constructed from a specifically designed hydrogen-bonding azobenzene through the formation of hexamers. The stacking of hexamers causes a unique internal order that leads to spontaneous curvature, which allows accessing conformations that range from randomly folded to helically folded fibers. Reversible photoisomerization of azobenzene moieties destroys or recovers the curvature of the main chain, which demonstrates unprecedented levels of external control over fiber morphologies.
- 1 Institute for Grobal Prominent Research, Chiba University