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Connecting Molecular and Supramolecular Shapeshifting by the Ostwald's Nucleation Stages of a Star Giant Molecule
H.-Y. Hsu, J.-T. Ou, T.-T. Cheng, H.-Y. Lin, C.-Y. Lin, J. Chen, B. Sun, P.-W. Chung*, and C.-L. Wang*
he shapeshifting behavior for synthetic matters was found at either the molecular or supramolecular level, but the connection between shapeshifting at the two hierarchical levels remains missing. In this study, an 8-arm star giant molecule, NPOSS, was synthesized to connect the molecular and supramolecular shapeshifting. Controlling the conditions of bulk self-assembly allowed us to bring NPOSS into three different Ostwald’s stages of nucleation. The high conformational flexibility of NPOSS facilitates molecular shapeshifting and allows NPOSS to take the discotic, rod-like and star-like geometries in different Ostwald’s stages. Simultaneous changes in the supramolecular scaffolds were observed as the discotic, rod-like and star-like NPOSS molecules self-assembled into the supramolecular scaffolds of 1D columns, 2D lamellae, and 3D networks, respectively. These changes in the hierarchical structures also affect the CO2 affinity of NPOSS. Therefore, the connection between the molecular/supramolecular shapeshifting and the structure-driven property changes of NPOSS were established by taking advantage of the high conformational freedom of the 8-arm star giant molecule and its diverse self-assembly pathways leading to the different Ostwald’s stages.