The integration of a tripeptide derivative, which is a versatile self-assembly motif, with a ruthenium(II)tris(bipyridine) complex affords the first supramolecular metallo-hydrogelator that not only self assembles in water to form a hydrogel but also exhibits gel-sol transition upon oxidation of the metal center. Surprisingly, the incorporation of the metal complex in the hydrogelator results in the nanofibers, formed by the self-assembly of the hydrogelator in water, to have the width of a single molecule of the hydrogelator. These results illustrate that metal complexes, besides being able to impart rich optical, electronic, redox, or magnetic properties to supramolecular hydrogels, also offer a unique geometrical control to prearrange the self-assembly motif prior to self-assembling. The use of metal complexes to modulate the dimensionality of intermolecular interactions may also help elucidate the interactions of the molecular nanofibers with other molecules, thus facilitating the development of supramolecular hydrogel materials for a wide range of applications. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry