Enforced Stacking of Shape-Persistent Macrocycles: A Molecular Approach for Tuning the Structures and Functions of Nanotubular Assemblies
Bing Gong Principal Investigator
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In this project funded by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry Program of the Chemistry Division, Bing Gong of the State University of New York at Buffalo and Xiao Cheng Zeng of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln will develop a general strategy for the controlled synthesis and assembly of shape-persistent macrocyclic molecules into functional organic nanotubes containing sub-nanometer pores. Because the interior and exterior of the macrocycles may be functionalized independently, both the diameters and inner surfaces of the nanopores may be modified in a controlled manner. The nanopores, eventually, will be incorporated into membranes and allow for the selective transport of water across the membrane. The broader impacts involve cross-disciplinary training of graduate and undergraduate students, incorporating research into teaching, outreach to students at primarily undergraduate institutions, and the potential long term impacts of water purification technology.<br/><br/>Pores of various diameters are found in a range of synthetic and natural objects. For example, water purification technologies utilize porous membranes that permit the selective passage of water over the other salt and organic components. In biology, cell membranes contain protein pore structures that select for the transport of specific molecules and ions and contain active functions that are far more advanced than synthetic pores. This research project will enhance our understanding of how to prepare and assemble molecules into pores that permit the transport of one type of molecule, such as water. The research will impact our fundamental knowledge of chemistry in this area, yet may have direct application to various technologies that utilize porous materials, such as water purification. This project also will provide mechanisms to educate undergraduate and graduate at the frontiers and interfaces of molecular, biological, and physical sciences.