Supramolecular Amino Acid Based Hydrogels: Probing the Contribution of Additive Molecules using NMR Spectroscopy

Susana M. Ramalhete, Karol P. Nartowski, Nichola Sarathchandra, Jamie Foster, Andrew N. Round, Jesus Angulo, Gareth O. Lloyd, Yaroslav Z. Khimyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Supramolecular hydrogels are composed of self-assembled solid networks that restrict the flow of water. l-Phenylalanine is the smallest molecule reported to date to form gel networks in water, and it is of particular interest due to its crystalline gel state. Single and multi-component hydrogels of l-phenylalanine are used herein as model materials to develop an NMR-based analytical approach to gain insight into the mechanisms of supramolecular gelation. Structure and composition of the gel fibres were probed using PXRD, solid-state NMR experiments and microscopic techniques. Solution-state NMR studies probed the properties of free gelator molecules in an equilibrium with bound molecules. The dynamics of exchange at the gel/solution interfaces was investigated further using high-resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) and saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR experiments. This approach allowed the identification of which additive molecules contributed in modifying the material properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8014-8024
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number33
Early online date23 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017


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