Growth of Extra-Large Chromophore Supramolecular Polymers for Enhanced Hydrogen Production

Adam J. Dannenhoffer, Hiroaki Sai, Boris Harutyunyan, Ashwin Narayanan, Natalia E. Powers-Riggs, Alexandra N. Edelbrock, James V. Passarelli, Steven J. Weigand, Michael R. Wasielewski, Michael J. Bedzyk, Liam C. Palmer, Samuel I. Stupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The control of morphology in bioinspired chromophore assemblies is key to the rational design of functional materials for light harvesting. We investigate here morphological changes in perylene monoimide chromophore assemblies during thermal annealing in aqueous environments of high ionic strength to screen electrostatic repulsion. We found that annealing under these conditions leads to the growth of extra-large ribbon-shaped crystalline supramolecular polymers of widths from about 100 nm to several micrometers and lengths from 1 to 10 μm while still maintaining a unimolecular thickness. This growth process was monitored by variable-temperature absorbance spectroscopy, synchrotron X-ray scattering, and confocal microscopy. The extra-large single-crystal-like supramolecular polymers are highly porogenic, thus creating loosely packed hydrogel scaffolds that showed greatly enhanced photocatalytic hydrogen production with turnover numbers as high as 13 500 over ∼110 h compared to 7500 when smaller polymers are used. Our results indicate great functional opportunities in thermally and pathway-controlled supramolecular polymerization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3745-3752
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 12 2021


  • chromophore amphiphiles
  • solar energy harvesting
  • supramolecular polymerization
  • two-dimensional crystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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