Self-assembling hydrogel scaffolds for photocatalytic hydrogen production

Adam S. Weingarten, Roman V. Kazantsev, Liam C. Palmer, Mark McClendon, Andrew R. Koltonow, Amanda P.S. Samuel, Derek J. Kiebala, Michael R. Wasielewski, Samuel I. Stupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Scopus citations


Integration into a soft material of all the molecular components necessary to generate storable fuels is an interesting target in supramolecular chemistry. The concept is inspired by the internal structure of photosynthetic organelles, such as plant chloroplasts, which colocalize molecules involved in light absorption, charge transport and catalysis to create chemical bonds using light energy. We report here on the light-driven production of hydrogen inside a hydrogel scaffold built by the supramolecular self-assembly of a perylene monoimide amphiphile. The charged ribbons formed can electrostatically attract a nickel-based catalyst, and electrolyte screening promotes gelation. We found the emergent phenomenon that screening by the catalyst or the electrolytes led to two-dimensional crystallization of the chromophore assemblies and enhanced the electronic coupling among the molecules. Photocatalytic production of hydrogen is observed in the three-dimensional environment of the hydrogel scaffold and the material is easily placed on surfaces or in the pores of solid supports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-970
Number of pages7
JournalNature chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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