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Self-Assembly of Macromolecular Threaded Systems


  1. Yuya Tachibana1,
  2. Kazuko Nakazono2,
  3. Toshikazu Takata2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470661345.smc083

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

How to Cite

Tachibana, Y., Nakazono, K. and Takata, T. 2012. Self-Assembly of Macromolecular Threaded Systems. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan

  2. 2

    Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012


Recently, a polyrotaxane network material has been practically used, for the first time, as a coating material for mobile phones in Japan. This is an epoch-making event in the science and technology of interlocked molecules, macromolecules, and related materials. Polymers possessing interlocked structures as key skeletons are, therefore, the most promising and intriguing materials, especially in the application fields. Polyrotaxanes and polycatenanes are characterized by the specific features based on the unique mobility of the noncovalently bonded components in their special polymer structures, such as molecular rotaxanes and catenanes, leading to the construction of a variety of sophisticated systems. In particular, when wheel components and a chain polymer form a macromolecular threaded system (i.e., polyrotaxane), combining the wheel components of different molecules results in producing the cross-linked points that can move on the chain. Such a type of “topological cross-linking” of polyrotaxane network can provide special mobility to the polymer chains, as de Gennes suggested in his paper entitled “Sliding Gels.” The topological cross-linking is clearly distinguished from both physical and chemical cross-linkings with little mobility of polymer chains. Thus, the research area of interlocked polymer systems has collected much attention from the fields of both supramolecular and polymer sciences, and the active investigation on them must be continued in the future, judging from the enthusiastic activity in materials science fields today.

In a whole research trend of interlocked polymers, being parallel to the development of the synthetic methods of interlocked polymers, various applications of them have been studied simultaneously. This chapter overviews the development of synthetic methods and applications of interlocked polymers such as polyrotaxane, polycatenane, and their networks that have been reported in these two decades. The works introduced are mainly the original ones. Owing to the limited space for this chapter, the authors cannot refer to the details of each work, although most works are very interesting. The detailed explanation of the important works published up to 2009 can be found in many reviews, including two comprehensive articles of Gibson and Stoddart on polyrotaxanes and polycatenanes in addition to a lot of review articles and books on the rotaxanes and catenanes that devote a small space for the polymers.


  • polyrotaxane;
  • polycatenane;
  • self-assembly;
  • interlocked polymer;
  • topologically cross-linking;
  • supramolecular material