Self-Assembled Soft Materials for Energy and Environmental Applications

  • Ayyapillai Thamizhanban
  • Krishnamoorthy Lalitha
  • Subbiah NagarajanEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 23)


Molecular gels are ubiquitous soft solids formed by the self-assembly of small building blocks via the weak intermolecular interactions resulting in the formation of 3D nano- or micro fibrous network wherein solvent molecules are trapped that act as an excellent platform for environmental and energy applications. Appropriate molecular modification can alter the nanoscale assembly which could be utilized practically for various applications in the field of biology, medicine, and materials science. The nanofiber formation in gel can be transformed into conducting architectures or metallic nanowires via doping and annealing procedure. Since gels are formed by weak intermolecular interactions, the gel-to-solution transition can be triggered by various external stimuli such as temperature, mechanical action, light, ultrasound waves, acids, bases, ions, redox reagents, and biomolecules. However, gel-to-sol phase change associated with stimuli-responsive behavior can be used for tuning the molecular-level behavior. This chapter reviews the various practical applications of molecular gels such as removal of dyes, aromatic compounds, toxic metals, anions, hydrocarbons, crude oil, smart photonics, electrolytes, and artificial light-harvesting devices.


Self-assembly Nanomaterials Low-molecular-weight gelators 



SN thanks the Department of Science and Technology (IFA11-CH-04 and #SB/FT/CS-024/2013), India and Board of Research in Nuclear Science (#37(1)/20/47/2014), and Department of Atomic Energy, India, for financial support. S. N. thanks the National Institute of Technology, Warangal for infrastructure facilities and RSM intramural research fund.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayyapillai Thamizhanban
    • 1
  • Krishnamoorthy Lalitha
    • 1
  • Subbiah Nagarajan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, School of Chemical and BiotechnologySASTRA Deemed UniversityThanjavurIndia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryNational Institute of Technology Warangal (Institute of National Importance)WarangalIndia

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