Self-assembly of large and small molecules into hierarchically ordered sacs and membranes

Ramille M. Capito, Helena S. Azevedo, Yuri S. Velichko, Alvaro Mata, Samuel I. Stupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

423 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report here the self-assembly of macroscopic sacs and membranes at the interface between two aqueous solutions, one containing a megadalton polymer and the other, small self-assembling molecules bearing opposite charge. The resulting structures have a highly ordered architecture in which nanofiber bundles align and reorient by nearly 90° as the membrane grows. The formation of a diffusion barrier upon contact between the two liquids prevents their chaotic mixing. We hypothesize that growth of the membrane is then driven by a dynamic synergy between osmotic pressure of ions and static self-assembly. These robust, self-sealing macroscopic structures offer opportunities in many areas, including the formation of privileged environments for cells, immune barriers, new biological assays, and self-assembly of ordered thick membranes for diverse applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1812-1816
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume319
Issue number5871
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 28 2008

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