About this Research Topic
Despite a relatively limited number of cationic and anionic groups commonly employed in synthetic zwitterionic materials, in recent decades, we have witnessed huge progress in the design of structurally rich zwitterion-functionalized organic materials. Advances in the design and synthesis of zwitterionic materials were followed by the development of new applications that have been supported by the key properties of zwitterions: high hydrophilicity, biocompatibility, and absence of ionic dissociation. The advantages of zwitterionic materials have been exploited in numerous biomedical applications such as antifouling and antimicrobial zwitterionic surfaces, drug and gene delivery, biological hydrogels, but also in nanotechnology as functional coatings and soft templates for syntheses, and in diverse emerging engineering applications such as separation media, selective membranes, and ion-conductive matrices.
Even though the number of publications addressing different aspects of zwitterionic materials has increased more than tenfold in the last decade, seems that there is still a lack of systematic knowledge of their design principles. Furthermore, there is a growing need for extension of the existing library of zwitterionic materials by introducing new chemical motifs or innovative structural design which could enhance their performances in diverse applications.
The goal of the Research Topic is to report on novel concepts in the design of zwitterionic materials, including systematic studies of the effect of structural changes on the variation of physicochemical properties of both neat zwitterionic materials and their mixtures. Understanding interactions in mixtures of zwitterions with ionic materials, metal salts, and biomolecules, at least at a qualitative level, has a crucial role in building a platform for a selection of the most suitable zwitterionic candidates for strategic applications. The Research Topic is going to:
• highlight the current achievements in the development of zwitterionic materials,
• inform on new insights on the effect of design parameters on their properties and behavior in solutions,
• address challenges and outline the potential of zwitterions for advanced applications.
We are looking for contributions, in the form of Original Research articles, reporting fundamental research findings on:
• novel molecular design of hydrophilic or amphiphilic zwitterionic materials and structure-properties relationship.
• interactions of zwitterionic materials with inorganic and organic ionic species, and biomolecules.
• solution behavior and molecular interactions.
• processes of self-assembly and co-assembly, particularly from the perspective of the formation of diverse aggregates, such as micellar and liquid crystalline phases.
• design principles for tailoring zwitterionic molecular structure for a specific application.
Keywords: zwitterionic materials, physicochemical properties, structural design, mixtures, self-assembly
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.