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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Jun 25;130(25):7938-45. doi: 10.1021/ja711447s. Epub 2008 May 30.

Double-stranded helical polymers consisting of complementary homopolymers.

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  • 1Yashima Super-Structured Helix Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan.


Two complementary homopolymers of chiral amidines and achiral carboxylic acids with m-terphenyl-based backbones were synthesized by the copolymerization of a p-diiodobenzene derivative with the diethynyl monomers bearing a chiral amidine group and a carboxyl group using the Sonogashira reaction, respectively. Upon mixing in THF, the homopolymer strands assembled into a preferred-handed double helix through interstrand amidinium-carboxylate salt bridges, as evidenced by its absorption, circular dichroism, and IR spectra. In contrast, when mixed in less polar solvents, such as chloroform, the complementary strands kinetically formed an interpolymer complex with an imperfect double helical structure containing a randomly hybridized cross-linked structure, probably because of strong salt bridge formations. This primary complex was rearranged into the fully double helical structure by treatment with a strong acid followed by neutralization with an amine. High-resolution atomic force microscopy revealed the double-stranded helical structure and enabled the determination of the helical sense.

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