Allosteric pathway selection in templated assembly

Galen, Martijn Van; Higler, Ruben; Sprakel, Joris


Assembling large numbers of molecular building blocks into functional nanostructures is no trivial task. It relies on guiding building blocks through complex energy landscapes shaped by synergistic and antagonistic supramolecular interactions. In nature, the use of molecular templates is a potent strategy to navigate the process to the desired structure with high fidelity. Yet, nature's templating strategy remains to be fully exploited in man-made nanomaterials. Designing effective template-guided self-assembling systems can only be realized through precise insight into how the chemical design of building blocks and the resulting balance of repulsive and attractive forces give rise to pathway selection and suppression of trapped states. We develop a minimal model to unravel the kinetic pathways and pathway selection of the templated assembly of molecular building blocks on a template. We show how allosteric activation of the associative interactions can suppress undesired solution-aggregation pathways and gives rise to a true template-assembly path.