Red-light-controlled supramolecular assemblies of indigo amphiphiles at multiple length scales

Jerry Chun Kit Yau, Ka Lung Hung, Yikun Ren, Takashi Kajitani, Marc C.A. Stuart, Franco King Chi Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Amphiphilic molecules functionalized with photoresponsive motifs have attractive prospects for applications in smart functional bio-material ranging from cell-material interfaces to drug delivery systems owing to the precisely controllable functionality of self-assembled hierarchical supramolecular structures in aqueous media by a non-invasive light stimulation with high temporal- and spatial-resolution. However, most of reported photoresponsive amphiphiles are triggered by bio-damaging UV-light, which greatly limits the potential in bio-related applications. Herein, we present newly designed red-light controlled N,N’-diaryl-substituted indigo amphiphiles (IA), exhibiting excellent photoswitchablity and photostability with dual red-/green-light in organic media. Meanwhile, aqueous solutions of IA assembled into supramolecular structures in both microscopic and macroscopic length-scale, though the photoresponsiveness of IA is slightly compromised in aqueous media. At macroscopic length-scale, morphological changes of IA macroscopic scaffold prepared by a shear-flow method can be fine adjusted upon red-light irradiation. Moreover, the preferential attachment of live h-MSCs to IA macroscopic scaffold surface also indicates a good biocompatibility of IA macroscopic scaffold. These results provide the potential for developing the next generation of red-light controlled soft functional materials with good biocompatibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-403
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024


  • Indigo Amphiphile
  • Macroscopic Soft Scaffold
  • Molecular Switch
  • Photoresponsive Amphiphile
  • Supramolecular Assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Red-light-controlled supramolecular assemblies of indigo amphiphiles at multiple length scales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this