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Chemistry. 2014 Apr 1;20(14):3888-93. doi: 10.1002/chem.201304912. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Templating the self-assembly of pristine carbon nanostructures in water.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Padova via Marzolo 1, 35131 Padova (Italy).


The low solubility of carbon nanostructures (CNs) in water and the need of ordered architectures at the nanoscale level are two major challenges for materials chemistry. Here we report that a novel amino acid based low-molecular-weight gelator (LMWG) can be used to effectively disperse pristine CNs in water and to drive their ordered self-assembly into supramolecular hydrogels. A non-covalent mechanochemical approach has been used, so the π-extended system of the CNs remains intact. Optical spectroscopy and electron microscopy confirmed the effective dispersion of the CNs in water. Electron microscopy of the hydrogels showed the formation of an ordered, LMWG-assisted, self-assembled architecture. Moreover, the very same strategy allows the solubilization and self-assembly in water of a variety of hydrophobic molecules.

© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


carbon nanostructures; fullerenes; hydrogels; mechanochemistry; self-assembly

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