The helical structure is one of key structural components for both biological systems and artificial chiral systems. So far, we have succeeded in fabricating "tight" insulated molecular wires consisting of a triple-stranded cohelical structure formed through supramolecular wrapping of synthetic polymers by a helix-forming polysaccharide (schizophyllan). Herein, we have designed a new modified polysaccharide (Cur-oeg) to form a "loose" macromolecular complex with a conjugated polymer (CP) that allows structural changes in response to external stimuli. Cur-oeg forms a helical complex with an achiral cationic polythiophene (PT1), and the effective conjugation length is changed by temperature, showing a large absorption peak shift from 403 to 482 nm between 85 and 5 °C. According to the change in the conjugation system, the fluorescence and the induced circular dichroism show the continuous spectral shifts under temperature control. The color changes in the absorption and the fluorescence are detectable with observation by the naked eye and are reversibly controlled under thermal cycles, indicating that this system has the function of a "molecular thermometer". It is shown that the induced thermoresponsiveness is associated with structural rearrangement of the helical conformation of PT1 in the complex. Moreover, another unique responsiveness is discovered for the film state: that is, the film color is varied when it is exposed to the vapor of water or methanol (vaporchromism), resulting from the structural change of PT1 occurring even in the film state. These flexible molecular motions in both the solution state and the film state can be applicable to the design of CP-based smart sensors, polarized materials, switching devices, etc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry