Living supramolecular polymerization of fluorinated cyclohexanes

Shyshov, Oleksandr and Haridas, Shyamkumar Vadakket and Pesce, Luca and Qi, Haoyuan and Gardin, Andrea and Bochicchio, Davide and Kaiser, Ute and Pavan, Giovanni M. and von Delius, Max (2021) Living supramolecular polymerization of fluorinated cyclohexanes. Nature Communications, 12 (1). ISSN 2041-1723

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The development of powerful methods for living covalent polymerization has been a key driver of progress in organic materials science. While there have been remarkable reports on living supramolecular polymerization recently, the scope of monomers is still narrow and a simple solution to the problem is elusive. Here we report a minimalistic molecular platform for living supramolecular polymerization that is based on the unique structure of all-cis 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexafluorocyclohexane, the most polar aliphatic compound reported to date. We use this large dipole moment (6.2 Debye) not only to thermodynamically drive the self-assembly of supramolecular polymers, but also to generate kinetically trapped monomeric states. Upon addition of well-defined seeds, we observed that the dormant monomers engage in a kinetically controlled supramolecular polymerization. The obtained nanofibers have an unusual double helical structure and their length can be controlled by the ratio between seeds and monomers. The successful preparation of supramolecular block copolymers demonstrates the versatility of the approach.

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