Aramid Amphiphile Self-Assembling Nanostructures


This invention develops a new materials platform based on molecular self-assembly to generate nanostructured materials with extraordinary mechanical stabilities. This platform is of interest to the pharmaceutical industry because it generates particles which can retain liquids, including water or solutions of drugs. The platform is also of interest to the energy, environment, and water purification industries because it generates particles which can be modified to reduce carbon dioxide or remove heavy metals from drinking water. 

Problem Addressed

Standard phospholipid vesicles collapse into bilayers upon drying since the weak and limited interactions of their component phospholipids cannot support the structure’s weight in air. This invention generates a new materials platform that utilizes polyaramid structural domains to make highly stable bilayered vesicles, as well as spherical nanoparticles and ribbon-like nanofibers. These nanostructures are superior to phospholipid based materials due to their strong mechanical properties and low degree of molecular exchange. As such, polyaramid based vesicles and spheres are able to retain their contents upon drying and long-term storage in air. 


This invention uses polyaramid (including tri-, di-, and monoaramid) structural domains to generate tuned nanostructure geometries like spheres, ribbons, and vesicle-like hollow spheres. The materials platform generated is unique because the formed nanostructures do not undergo decomposition or dissociation on surfaces or under harsh conditions. The basic structure of the monomeric unit of these nanostructures is that of a polyaramid structural domain sandwiched between a hydrophilic and water soluble head group and a hydrophobic and water insoluble tail group. The hydrophobic tail groups maybe be short alkyls, long alkyls, or dialkyls. These groups help to confer geometric properties to the structure. The hydrophilic head group allows for the application of surface chemistries to the structure. The core polyaramid domain is responsible for the mechanical properties of the generated nanostructure and also plays a role in establishing its geometric properties.  


  • Aramid-containing vesicles and spheres do not undergo decomposition or dissociation in harsh conditions
  • Aramid-containing vesicles and spheres retain their contents after drying and long-term storage in air
  • Hydrophilic head group of aramid amphiphile units allows modification of nanostructures via surface chemistry