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Diarylethene-Powered Light-Induced Folding of Supramolecular Polymers.

Fukushima, T; Tamaki, K; Isobe, A; Hirose, T; Shimizu, N; Takagi, H; Haruki, R; Adachi, S-I; Hollamby, M; Yagai, S

Diarylethene-Powered Light-Induced Folding of Supramolecular Polymers. Thumbnail


T Fukushima

K Tamaki

A Isobe

T Hirose

N Shimizu

H Takagi

R Haruki

S-I Adachi

S Yagai


Helical folding of randomly coiled linear polymers is an essential organization process not only for biological polypeptides but also for synthetic functional polymers. Realization of this dynamic process in supramolecular polymers (SPs) is, however, a formidable challenge because of their inherent lability of main chains upon changing an external environment that can drive the folding process (e.g., solvent, concentration, and temperature). We herein report a photoinduced reversible folding/unfolding of rosette-based SPs driven by photoisomerization of a diarylethene (DAE). Temperature-controlled supramolecular polymerization of a barbiturate-functionalized DAE (open isomer) in nonpolar solvent results in the formation of intrinsically curved, but randomly coiled, SPs due to the presence of defects. Irradiation of the randomly coiled SPs with UV light causes efficient ring-closure reaction of the DAE moieties, which induces helical folding of the randomly coiled structures into helicoidal ones, as evidenced by atomic force microscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering. The helical folding is driven by internal structure ordering of the SP fiber that repairs the defects and interloop interaction occurring only for the resulting helicoidal structure. In contrast, direct supramolecular polymerization of the ring-closed DAE monomers by temperature control affords linearly extended ribbon-like SPs lacking intrinsic curvature that are thermodynamically less stable compared to the helicoidal SPs. The finding represents an important concept applicable to other SP systems; that is, postpolymerization (photo)reaction of preorganized kinetic structures can lead to more thermodynamically stable structures that are inaccessible directly through temperature-controlled protocols.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 23, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 23, 2021
Publication Date Apr 21, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Journal Of The American Chemical Society
Print ISSN 0002-7863
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 143
Issue 15
Pages 5845 - 5854
Publisher URL


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