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Single-Handed Helical Polybissilsesquioxane Nanotubes And Mesoporous Nanofibers Prepared By An External Templating Approach Using Low-Molecular-Weight Gelators

J. Hu, Yonggang Yang
Published 2017 · Materials Science, Medicine

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Chiral low-molecular-weight gelators (LMWGs) derived from amino acids can self-assemble into helical fibers and twisted/coiled nanoribbons by H-bonding and π–π interaction. Silica nanotubes with single-handed helices have been prepared using chiral LMWGs through sol–gel transcription. Molecular-scale chirality exists at the inner surfaces. Here, we discuss single-handed helical aromatic ring-bridged polybissilsesquioxane nanotubes and mesoporous nanofibers prepared using chiral LMWGs. This review aims at describing the formation mechanisms of the helical nanostructures, the origination of optical activity, and the applications for other helical nanomaterial preparation, mainly based on our group’s results. The morphology and handedness can be controlled by changing the chirality and kinds of LMWGs and tuning the reaction conditions. The aromatic rings arrange in a partially crystalline structure. The optical activity of the polybissilsesquioxane nanotubes and mesoporous nanofibers originates from chiral defects, including stacking and twisting of aromatic groups, on the inner surfaces. They can be used as the starting materials for preparation of silica, silicon, carbonaceous, silica/carbon, and silicon carbide nanotubes.
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