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A molecular assembler that produces polymers.


ABSTRACT: Molecular nanotechnology is a rapidly developing field, and tremendous progress has been made in developing synthetic molecular machines. One long-sought after nanotechnology is systems able to achieve the assembly-line like production of molecules. Here we report the discovery of a rudimentary synthetic molecular assembler that produces polymers. The molecular assembler is a supramolecular aggregate of bifunctional surfactants produced by the reaction of two phase-separated reactants. Initially self-reproduction of the bifunctional surfactants is observed, but once it reaches a critical concentration the assembler starts to produce polymers instead of supramolecular aggregates. The polymer size can be controlled by adjusting temperature, reaction time, or introducing a capping agent. There has been considerable debate about molecular assemblers in the context of nanotechnology, our demonstration that primitive assemblers may arise from simple phase separated reactants may provide a new direction for the design of functional supramolecular systems.

SUBMITTER: Engwerda AHJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7438324 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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