Structural and photophysical templating of conjugated polyelectrolytes with single-stranded DNA

Peterhans, Lisa; Nicolaidou, Eliana; Diamantis, Polydefkis; Alloa, Elisa; Leclerc, Mario; Surin, Mathieu; Clément, Sébastien; Rothlisberger, Ursula; Banerji, Natalie; Hayes, Sophia C. (2020). Structural and photophysical templating of conjugated polyelectrolytes with single-stranded DNA. Chemistry of materials, 32(17), pp. 7347-7362. American Chemical Society 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c02251

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A promising approach to influence and control the photophysical properties of conjugated polymers is directing their molecular conformation by templating. We explore here the templating effect of single-stranded DNA oligomers (ssDNAs) on cationic polythiophenes with the goal to uncover the intermolecular interactions that direct the polymer backbone conformation. We have comprehensively characterized the optical behavior and structure of the polythiophenes in conformationally distinct complexes depending on the sequence of nucleic bases and addressed the effect on the ultrafast excited-state relaxation. This, in combination with molecular dynamics simulations, allowed us a detailed atomistic-level understanding of the structure−property correlations. We find that electrostatic and other noncovalent interactions direct the assembly with the polymer, and we identify that optimal templating is achieved with (ideally 10−20) consecutive cytosine bases through numerous π-stacking interactions with the thiophene rings and side groups of the polymer, leading to a rigid assembly with ssDNA, with highly ordered chains and unique optical signatures. Our insights are an important step forward in an effective approach to structural templating and optoelectronic control of conjugated polymers and organic materials in general.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Peterhans, Lisa Anna and Banerji, Natalie


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




American Chemical Society


[18] European Research Council ; [4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Olivier Nicolas Ludovic Bardagot

Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2021 15:24

Last Modified:

03 Jun 2021 15:24

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

We thank the European Research Council (ERC) for supporting this research by a Starting Grant (No. 714586, OSIRIS), the NCCR-MUST, a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation, as well as the University of Bern.




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