Scientists Uncover Nanotube inside Porphyrin


Scientists have chanced upon a new type of material to be used in magnetism, catalysis, and sensing. They have made the first of its kind rotaxane-like assembly between porphyrin rings and carbon nanotube.

Owing to the exceptional physical properties of metalloporphyrins and carbon nanotubes, researchers are pulling out all stops to integrate the two into one assembly. But, traditional methods mainly bank upon on covalent bonding of two components. This can affect their properties.

Scientists Combine Molecules Mechanically

In a first, scientists have been able to integrate molecules of two types mechanically. They have successfully closely associated the two without changing their properties dramatically. The interlocking of the molecules mechanically makes it nearly impossible for them to be separated without breaking the chemical bonds in one of the components.

To demonstrate the process, the team of scientists from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany and Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, leveraged a strategy of clipping to create the assembly akin to rotaxane. The method entailed wrapping of a ring precursor which is U-shaped around a nanotube, and then tethering the two ends of the ring together chemically. Because of the comparatively longer length of the nanotube, it is just not possible for the ring to slip off.

Scientists at the center of the new discovery feel that it would bring about new applications for metalloporphyrin assemblies and carbon nanotubes owing to the electronic interactions between two components that hold out a lot of possibilities.

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