Supramolecular polymers: Recent advances based on the types of underlying interactions

Hui-Qing Peng, Wenping Zhu, Wu-Jie Guo, Qingyun Li, Shixiang Ma, Christophe Bucher, Bin Liu, Xiaofan Ji, Feihe Huang, Jonathan L. Sessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Supramolecular polymers are, in broad brushstrokes, self-assembled structures built up from small building blocks via the use of noncovalent interactions. In favorable cases, supramolecular polymers embody the best features of covalent polymers while displaying unique reversibility, responsiveness, adaptiveness, and stability. This has made them of interest across a wide variety of fields, from molecular devices to sensors, drug delivery, cell recognition, and environmentally friendly materials systems. This review is concerned with the determinants that underlie supramolecular polymer construction, specifically the driving forces that have been exploited to create them. To date, nearly the full range of known noncovalent interactions (e.g., hydrogen-bonding, electrostatic interactions, charge transfer effects, and metal coordination, among others) has been exploited to create supramolecular polymers. Typically, one or more types of interactions is used to link appropriately designed monomers. The choice of noncovalent interaction can have a significant influence on the structure and function of the resulting supramolecular polymers. Understanding the connections between the forces responsible for the assembly of supramolecular polymers and their properties provides the foundation for further advances in this fast-moving field. Given the above, this review will discuss recent progress in the rapidly advancing field of supramolecular polymers organized by the types of underlying interactions. An overview of future challenges and opportunities for supramolecular polymers, including their formation, characterization, and applications, is also provided.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101635
StatePublished - Dec 25 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-02-14
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2019-CRG8-4032
Acknowledgements: H.–Q. Peng thanks the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22105016, 52002015) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2022YFA1505900). H.–Q. Peng is also grateful for support from the Open Fund of Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Luminescence from Molecular Aggregates, South China University of Technology (2019B030301003). X. Ji acknowledges initial funding from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, where he is being supported by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant 2020kfyXJJS013). X. Ji is also grateful for support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22001087), and the Open Fund of Hubei Key Laboratory of Material Chemistry and Service Failure, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (2020MCF08). F. Huang thanks National Key Research and Development Program of China (2021YFA0910100), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22035006), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (LD21B020001), the Starry Night Science Fund of Zhejiang University Shanghai Institute for Advanced Study (SN-ZJU-SIAS-006), and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Office of Sponsored Research (OSR-2019-CRG8-4032) for financial support. Support from the Robert A. Welch Foundation (Chair funding F-0018 to J.L.S.) is also acknowledged with gratitude.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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