Symmetrically backfolded molecules emulating the self-similar features of a Sierpinski triangle

Jie Ying Hu, Yan Qiong Sun, Ran Xiao, Shengxian Cheng, Jun He, Matthias Zeller, Wai Yeung Wong, Zhengtao Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We synthesized self-similar molecules (G3 and G2; based on phenylalkynyl backbones) with symmetrically backfolded shapes inspired by the famous fractal of a Sierpinski triangle. Unlike the more traditional, starburst dendrimers, the centripetal-shaped Sierpinski molecules feature side branches symmetrically bent away from the growth direction of the main branch, thus contrasting the natural-tree shape. Molecule G3 exhibits three distinct levels of the structural hierarchy comprising the primary, secondary and tertiary branches, while the smaller G2 contains only features of the 1st and 2nd orders. In spite of the much larger conjugated backbone of G3, its solution UV-vis absorption and fluorescence exhibit no red shift relative to G2. In a test of nitrobenzene sensing, a thin film of G3 deposited from THF was more sensitively quenched in fluorescence than the smaller G2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6032-6037
Number of pages6
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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