We report a peptide-based multichromophoric hydrogelator system, wherein π-electron units with different inherent spectral energies are spatially controlled within peptidic 1-D nanostructures to create localized energy gradients in aqueous environments. This is accomplished by mixing different π-conjugated peptides prior to initiating self-assembly through solution acidification. We can vary the kinetics of the assembly and the degree of self-sorting through the choice of the assembly trigger, which changes the kinetics of acidification. The hydrolysis of glucono-'lactone (GdL) provides a slow pH drop that allows for stepwise triggering of peptide components into essentially self-sorted nanostructures based on subtle pKa differences, whereas HCl addition leads to a rapid formation of mixed components within a nanostructure. Using 1H NMR spectroscopy and fiber X-ray diffraction, we determine the conditions and peptide mixtures that favor self-sorting or intimate comixing. Photophysical investigations in the solution phase provide insight into the correlation of energy-transport processes occurring within the assemblies to the structural organization of the π-systems.
- Supramolecular structures and assemblies
- Peptides and proteins