A Molecular Strategy to Lock-in the Conformation of a Perylene Bisimide-Derived Supramolecular Polymer

Adam Ashcraft, Kaixuan Liu, Arindam Mukhopadhyay, Victor Paulino, Chuan Liu, Brianna Bernard, Dalia Husainy, Tina Phan, Jean Hubert Olivier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Locking-in the conformation of supramolecular assemblies provides a new avenue to regulate the (opto)electronic properties of robust nanoscale objects. In the present contribution, we show that the covalent tethering of a perylene bisimide (PBI)-derived supramolecular polymer with a molecular locker enables the formation of a locked superstructure equipped with emergent structure–function relationships. Experiments that exploit variable-temperature ground-state electronic absorption spectroscopy unambiguously demonstrate that the excitonic coupling between nearest neighboring units in the tethered superstructure is preserved at a temperature (371 K) where the pristine, non-covalent assembly exists exclusively in a molecularly dissolved state. A close examination of the solid-state morphologies reveals that the locked superstructure engenders the formation of hierarchical 1D materials which are not achievable by unlocked assemblies. To complement these structural attributes, we further demonstrate that covalently tethering a supramolecular polymer built from PBI subunits enables the emergence of electronic properties not evidenced in non-covalent assemblies. Using cyclic voltammetry experiments, the elucidation of the potentiometric properties of the locked superstructure reveals a 100-mV stabilization of the conduction band energy when compared to that recorded for the non-covalent assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7487-7493
Number of pages7
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 4 2020


  • electrochemistry
  • excitonic properties
  • perylene bisimide
  • semiconducting nanomaterials
  • supramolecular polymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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