Bioinspired self-assembly offers a way to create novel functional materials from simple, easy-to-synthesize building blocks. Peptides, in particular, are frequently used in the design of self-assembled materials for their structural properties and the ability for supramolecular ?lock and key? type recognition based on H-bonding networks and dispersion interactions. We have previously reported the head-to-tail self-assembly of N-terminal acetylated ?-peptides into helical fibrils through a supramolecular three point H-bonding motif, and the superstructures formed from inter-fibril interactions. Here we show that the superstructure morphology of a self-assembled ?3-peptide, Ac-?3[LIA], can be tuned to present a range of morphologies by the appropriate solvent medium. From the same monomer we succeeded in creating straight compact ?nano-beams?, self-spun threads and complex, dendritic, hierarchical structures. The variation in geometries is therefore achieved through careful switching and tuning of the relative strengths of the inter-fibril H-bonding, van der Waals and solvophobic interactions.
Seoudi, R. S., Del Borgo, M. P., Kulkarni, K. P., Perlmutter, P., Aguilar, M. M-I. I., & Mechler, A. I. (2015). Supramolecular self-assembly of 14-helical nanorods with tunable linear and dendritic hierarchical morphologies. New Journal of Chemistry, 39(5), 3280 - 3287. https://doi.org/10.1039/c4nj01926a