Organic Chemists have always been trying to imitate biology. Although it is possible to make many molecules that imitate biomolecules in terms of structure and function, it remains a challenge to attain the size and form of large biomolecules.
An international team led by A. Dieter Schlüter at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland) has now introduced a branched polymer that resembles the tobacco mosaic virus in size and cylindrical form. As the researchers outline in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this is the largest synthetic macromolecule with defined shape and atomic structure reported to date.
Previously, the largest reported synthetic structures with a defined atomic structure were polystyrene polymers with a molecular mass of about 40 million Daltons. However, this value corresponds to a small fraction of the mass of large DNA molecules. Formation of a large synthetic molecule that also has a defined form is much more difficult. For biologists, however, it is routine. Even the simplest organism has a well-defined form, such as the rod-shaped tobacco mosaic virus. For chemists it is a model: a massive molecular ensemble with perfect control over its chemical structure, function, size, and molecular form.
Schlüter and co-workers have now presented a branched polymer that approximates the size and form of the tobacco mosaic virus. Their complex synthesis, which requires 170,000 bond-forming reactions in a single molecule, led to a structurally defined, linear macromolecule with a diameter of about 10 nm and a molecular weight of 200 million Daltons. It thus has a molar mass, cross section, and cylindrical form comparable to the tobacco mosaic virus.
The new macromolecule is a dendronized polymer: it consists of a linear backbone with highly and regularly branched side chains. “This is the biggest synthetic macromolecule with a defined chemical structure and defined form to date,” according to Schlüter. “Our experiment is a first step toward the synthesis of molecular objects.” A structure is considered to be an object if it keeps its form regardless of its environment, when its interior can be distinguished from the outer environment, and when there is a clear boundary between the two. There are many synthetic nano-objects, however these are not single molecules, but are aggregates of several or many individual molecules.
Author: A. Dieter Schlüter, ETH Zürich (Switzerland), http://www.polychem.mat.ethz.ch/people/head/dieters
Title: The Largest Synthetic Structure with Molecular Precision: Towards a Molecular Object
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201005164
A. Dieter Schlüter | Angewandte Chemie
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences