University of Limerick
ODonnell_2020_Diphenylalanine.pdf (5.87 MB)

Diphenylalanine-derivative peptide assemblies with increased aromaticity exhibit metal-like rigidity and high piezoelectricity

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-06, 08:43 authored by Vasantha Basavalingappa, Santu Bera, Bin Xue, Joseph O'Donnell, Sarah GuerinSarah Guerin, Pierre-André Cazade, Hui Yuan, Ehtsham Ul HaqEhtsham Ul Haq, Christophe SilienChristophe Silien, Kai Tao, Linda J. W. Shimon, SYED ANSAR TOFAILSYED ANSAR TOFAIL, DAMIEN THOMPSONDAMIEN THOMPSON, Sofiya Kolusheva, Rusen Yang, Yi Cao, Ehud Gazit
Diphenylalanine (FF) represents the simplest peptide building block that selfassembles into ordered nanostructures with interesting physical properties. Among self-assembled peptide structures, FF nanotubes display notable stiffness and piezoelectric parameters (Young’s modulus =19-27 GPa, strain coefficient d33= 18 pC/N). Yet, inorganic alternatives remain the major materials of choice for many applications due to higher stiffness and piezoelectricity. Here, aiming to broaden the applications of the FF motif in materials chemistry, we designed three phenylrich dipeptides based on the β,β-diphenyl-Ala-OH (Dip) unit: Dip-Dip, cyclo-Dip-Dip, and tertbutyloxycarbonyl (Boc)-Dip-Dip. The doubled number of aromatic groups per unit, compared to FF, produced a dense aromatic zipper network with dramatically improved Young’s modulus of ~70 GPa which is comparable to aluminium. Piezoelectric strain coefficient d33 of ~73 pC/N of such assembly exceeds that of poled polyvinylidene-fluoride (PVDF) polymers and compares well to that of lead zirconium titanate (PZT) thin films and ribbons. The rationally-designed π-π assemblies show a voltage coefficient of 2-3 Vm/N, an order of magnitude higher than PVDF, improved thermal stability up to 360ºC (~60ºC higher than FF) and useful photoluminescence with wide-range excitation-dependent emission in the visible region. Our data demonstrate that aromatic groups improve the rigidity and piezoelectricity of organic self-assembled materials for numerous applications.


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ACS Nano;14 (6), pp. 7025-7037


American Chemical Society



Other Funding information

ERC, IRC, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu province, Echnological Innovation Foundation of Nanjing University, SFI



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