We describe cyclic peptide progelators which cleave in response to UV light to generate linearized peptides which then self-assemble into gel networks. Cyclic peptide progelators were synthesized, where the peptides were sterically constrained, but upon UV irradiation, predictable cleavage products were generated. Amino acid sequences and formulation conditions were altered to tune the mechanical properties of the resulting gels. Characterization of the resulting morphologies and chemistry was achieved through liquid phase and standard TEM methods, combined with matrix assisted laser desorption ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS).
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