Self-organizing bioinspired oligothiophene-oligopeptide-hybrids - A joint experimental and theoretical approach

The study of these molecular systems begun very re­cently and has been initiated by the par­ties invol­ved. Using a joint experimental and theoretical approach by or­ganic syn­thesis and mo­­­lecular modelling with an atomistic approach, we will focus on novel self-organizing and “bioinspired” hybrid structures consisting of semiconducting oligo- or polythiophene and bio­mi­me­tic peptide blocks capable of forming ordered noncovalently bon­­ded supra­mo­le­­cular structures via reversible hydrogen bonding of the peptide blocks. Variations of the se­miconducting block on one hand and the peptide sequence on the other hand are planned in order to understand the self-assembling behaviour of this new class of hybrid compounds. The amino acid se­q­uen­ces in the peptide block will be chosen according their tenden­cy to either form b-sheet or helical structures. Besides the synthe­tic challenge to effici­ent­ly connect blocks with very different properties, we expect either syn­ergistic or competiti­ve behaviour with res­pect to their phy­si­cal properties. In parti­cu­lar, be­sides the optoelectronic properties their self-assembly and the resulting superstructu­res will be investigated in de­tail. The two covalent­ly linked blocks lead to an inter­play bet­ween the intermolecular in­ter­actions in so­lu­tion and the mo­le­cu­le-substrate in­ter­ac­tions in the hybrid molecules. A spe­­cial attention is paid to the investigation of the self-assembling properties in solution, the bulk and in adsorption la­yers.

The work is directed towards the development of new biomimetic ways of the forma­tion of semiconducting fiber-like or helical supramolecular structures and conductive ul­tra­­­thin films with mechanical properties mimicking e.g. natural silk. The vision is to develop ma­­­­te­rials with ma­ximal conductivity, good mechanical strength and elasticity for various po­ten­tial applications including flexible conductive coatings, elec­­tronic packaging, the use of con­duc­ting composites in thermoplastics for tuning sur­­face resistivity, etc. The project re­­qui­res experimental efforts with respect to synthesis, methods and cha­racterization of the elec­­tronic and self-as­semb­ling pro­perties, develop­ment of new theoretical methods, and mas­­­sive computer simulations. Computational me­thods and ato­mis­tic mo­del­ling have a great po­tential to predict the superstructures and thus to opti­mi­se the synthesis condition and the final structure of these complex com­pounds. We believe that such an interdisciplina­­ry approach will enable us to understand in de­tail the mechanisms of self-or­ganization in exis­­ting systems and thus suggest new ways to produce modern materials with nanoscale he­­­terogeneity, controllable structural order, and efficient functional properties, including pho­­tophysical and charge transport properties.