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Building blocks for bioinspired electrets: molecular-level approach to materials for energy and electronics


In biology, an immense diversity of protein structural and functional motifs originates from only 20 common proteinogenic native amino acids arranged in various sequences. Is it possible to attain the same diversity in electronic materials based on organic macromolecules composed of non-native residues with different characteristics? This publication describes the design, preparation and characterization of non-native aromatic β-amino acid residues, i.e. derivatives of anthranilic acid, for polyamides that can efficiently mediate hole transfer. Chemical derivatization with three types of substituents at two positions of the aromatic ring allows for adjusting the energy levels of the frontier orbitals of the anthranilamide residues over a range of about one electronvolt. Most importantly, the anthranilamide residues possess permanent electric dipoles, adding to the electronic properties of the bioinspired conjugates they compose, making them molecular electrets.

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