Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Wang, Guijun

Second Advisor

Cai, Yang

Third Advisor

Jursic, Branko

Fourth Advisor

Rick, Steven

Fifth Advisor

Trudell, Mark


Low molecular weight gelators (LMWGs) are interesting materials whose applications are as diverse and wide ranging as their molecular structures. These materials self-assemble through the formation of non-covelent intermolecular forces and interactions to form supramolecular assemblies that trap solvent within their matrices. Because of the non-covalent nature of the forces of self-assembly, the gelation process is typically thermally reversible. In addition, low molecular weight gelators can also be modified to respond to various stimuli, such as change in pH, presence of enzymes or metal cations, or exposure to light. The design of low molecular weight gelators is often difficult, and most new classes of low molecular weight gelators are discovered by serendipity. As such, it is often useful to use structural templates in the design of LMWGs. Biomolecules, such as steroids, amino acids and peptides, and carbohydrates make excellent templates due to their inherent propensity to self assemble. A review of the current literature regarding the use of biomolecules as templates for the design and synthesis of LMWGs will be presented in chapter 1. Our research group has been active in the research of carbohydrate-based LMWGs for several years, and these results are also briefly reviewed in the related chapters. The synthesis and characterization of ester derivatives of D-galactose, D-glucose, and amide derivatives of D-glucosamine will be discussed in chapters 2-4, along with their evaluation for gelation in aqueous and organic solvents, such as hexane, ethanol, water, and aqueous DMSO or ethanol mixtures.


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