supramolecular gels (rus. супрамолекулярные гели otherwise молекулярные гели) — gels, forming from low-molecular gelling agents.


Supramolecular gels can be generated from low-molecular weight compounds (< 3000). At the microscale, those gels are elongated fibre-like structures interconnected by multiple non-covalent interactions (hydrogen bonds and van der Waals interactions, etc.) (see Fig.). The gelling of organic solvents with low molecular weight organic compounds results in the formation of three-dimensional supramolecular structures with captured and immobilised surrounding solvent molecules both in the cavity of the framework, and through specific intermolecular interactions.

If a chromophore or molecular receptor is added to a molecule of the gelling agent, it can make a supramolecular gel very sensitive to light or chemicals; such gels are a promising basis for the development of photo- and chemical sensors. A variety of gel space structures make it possible to use them as templates to synthesise non-organic superstructures for catalysis.


Primary, secondary and tertiary structures of supramolecular gel [2].
Primary, secondary and tertiary structures of supramolecular gel [2].


  • Eremin Vadim V.


  1. Neralagatta M. Sangeetha and Uday Maitra. Supramolecular gels: Functions and uses // Chem. Soc. Rev. 2005. V. 34. P. 821–836.
  2. Lara A. Estroff and Andrew D. Hamilton. Water Gelation by Small Organic Molecules // Chem. Rev. 2004. V. 104, №3. P. 1201–1218.

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