J. Zhang, R. Marega, L.-J. Chen, N.-W. Wu, X.-D. Xu, D. C. Muddiman, D. Bonifazi, H.-B. Yang,
Chem. – Asian J. 2014, 9, 2928-2936
We describe herein the hierarchical self-assembly of discrete supramolecular metallacycles into ordered fibers or spherical particles through multiple noncovalent interactions. A new series of well-defined metallacycles decorated with long alkyl chains were obtained through metal–ligand interactions, which were capable of aggregating into ordered fibroid or spherical nanostructures on the surface, mostly driven by hydrophobic interactions. In-depth studies indicated that the morphology diversity was originated from the structural information encoded in the metallacycles, including the number of alkyl chains and their spatial orientation. Interestingly, the morphology of the metallacycle aggregates could be tuned by changing the solvent polarity. These findings are of special significance since they provide a simple yet highly controllable approach to prepare ordered and tunable nanostructures from small building blocks by means of hierarchical self-assembly.