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Macroscopic helical chirality and self-motion of hierarchical self-assemblies induced by enantiomeric small molecules.


Transfer of molecular chirality to supramolecular chirality at nanoscale and microscale by chemical self-assembly has been studied intensively for years. However, how such molecular chirality further transfers to the macroscale along the same path remains elusive. Here we reveal how the chirality from molecular level transfers to macroscopic level via self-assembly. We assemble a macrostripe using enantiomeric camphorsulfonic acid (CSA)-doped polyaniline with hierarchical order. The stripe can twist into a single-handed helical ribbon via helical self-motion. A multi-scale chemo-mechanical model is used to elucidate the mechanism underlying its chirality transfer and induction. The molecular origin of this macroscopic helical chirality is verified. Results provide a comprehensive understanding of hierarchical chirality transfer and helical motion in self-assembled materials and even their natural analogues. The stripe exhibits disparate actuation behaviour under stimuli of enantiomeric amines and integrating such chiral perception with helical self-motion may motivate chiral biomimetic studies of smart materials.

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