Oligosaccharides Self-Assemble and Show Intrinsic Optical Properties

Natural polysaccharides such as cellulose, chitin, starch assemble to form key structural architectures over several orders of magnitude. Such assemblies are usually driven through complex biosynthetic events. The question of whether synthetic oligosaccharides are able to self-assembly has never been properly answered due to the lack of sufficient amount of homogeneous material. Automated chemical synthesis of oligosaccharides offers an attractive route to tackle such a problem. To this end, 6 well-characterized oligosaccharides (3 disaccharides and 3 hexasaccharides) having different glycosidic linkages have been synthesized and submitted to assembly conditions.

Differences in oligosaccharide structures along with different conditions to assemble them, result in different supramolecular structures ranging from needle-like structures to spheroidal architecture. These compounds exhibit unique optical properties such as broad emission profiles and red edge excitation shift which is a common property of highly ordered assemblies.
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