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Nanofibers and Lyotropic Liquid Crystals from a Class of Self-Assembling β-Peptides


  • This research was supported by University of Wisconsin-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSF grant DMR-0425880). V.M.Y. was supported by the Welch Foundation research grant C-1557. Authors kindly thank PepTech for a generous supply of several β-amino acids at a discounted price and Arun Yethiraj for helpful conversations during the preparation of this manuscript.


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More than a pretty phase: A class of helical β-peptides has been discovered that form lyotropic liquid-crystalline (LC) phases in water. The β-peptide sequence strongly affects the mode of assembly and ultimately whether a LC phase is formed. For a non-globally amphiphilic β-peptide that can form a LC phase, cryo-TEM revealed thin fibers several micrometers in length, consistent with Onsager theory.

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