ECUST Lin’s Research Group Discovered Supramolecular Polycondensation Reaction with Wide Potential Applications

In the 1920s, scientists found that through polycondensation reaction, small molecules with functional groups can react to form polymers. Based on this polycondensation reaction, a series of polymer products were obtained, such as nylon and polyester, which have gradually become the necessities for human life and industrial development. Recently, Jiaping Lin’s research group discovered that the polycondensation reaction can occur at supramolecular scale. The related work entitled as “Hierarchical Nanowires Synthesized by Supramolecular StepwisePolymerization”has recently published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.



Nano-scaled aggregates, such as micelles, can assemble into chain-like hierarchical nanowires, which resemble supramolecular polymers by the way of polycondensation reaction. This finding provides a new method for the preparation of hierarchical nanomaterials with advanced controllability and generality.This workunprecedentedly generalizes the conception of polycondensation reaction to nanoscale. The results indicate that this “supramolecular polymerization” method is not limited to a certain kind of copolymer, but universally suitable for the copolymers that contain rigid chain. Moreover, the structure and size of the hierarchical self-assemblies obtained from this method can be precisely controlled. Therefore, the “supramolecular polymerization” shows potential applications in wide fields, such as the manufacture of nanodevices with precise hierarchical structures.

 Additionally,the innovations may help in ascending the scale of functional nanomaterials, such as photoelectric nanowires, nano-cable and intelligent responsive drug carriers. Through the “supramolecular polymerization” of assemblies, it is also possible to fabricate metamaterials for aerospace field, such as super-intense liquid crystals.

Thiswork was completed by Dr. Zeliang Zhuang and Dr. Tao Jiang under the guidance of Professor Jiaping Lin. Recently, this research group has also made a series of progresses in scientific research and team construction. At the beginning of the year, Professor Jiaping Lin had been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistrymembership. Professor Shaoliang Lin won the 2016 “Outstanding Youth Science Fund Project” of the National Natural Science Foundation. Assistant Professor Chunhua Cai published a review article about his recent researches in Chemical Society Reviews. The related researches contributed by thisteam won the Shanghai Natural Science Prize in 2015.