Chemists have impressively created a new symmetrical macromolecule in the shape of a star. The easily-synthesized macrocycle is expected to open doors to a wider array of molecular tools in the field of chemistry, biology and materials sciences.
The study published in the journal Nature Chemistry is a notable breakthrough for macrocycles, a cyclic macromolecule. According to Amal Flood, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Science at the Indiana University of Bloomington, even though macrocycles are in the “heart of molecular recognition experiments” over the past years, they are only “a dime a dozen.”
With that, Flood says the bar must be raised. The professor then challenged the graduate students to create molecules and discern the former discovery of strong CH hydrogen bonds.
Cyanostar Has Strong Bonds
Flood’s earlier lab work showed organic molecules, the molecules of life that are built over carbon atoms, can be constructed to eliminate negatively charged ions from solutions. The structure of the molecules causes an electro-positive property despite its neutral charge which makes it bind with weak coordinating anions.
In return of Flood’s challenge, Semin Lee, a doctoral student and the article’s lead author, were able to create the cyanostar, the pentagonal macrocycle with a five-pointed star structure. Lee was able to make cyclic macrocyle that can bind ions with cyanostilbene as its foundation.
The new macromolecule is inclined to bond with large anions like phosphate ions, chlorate and borate. Moreover, it can form into dialkylphosphate rotaxane where macrocycles are paired and attached with a molecular rod.
Flood complimented Lee’s creation as it is “quite unique.” And unique it is indeed. What sets cyanostar apart from other macrocycles is how it can be easily synthesized and made unlike the countless others’ complicated and time-consuming procedure.
Ultimately, the cyanostar macromolecule is a revolutionary creation. With further studies, it can potentially open many avenues to be explored when it comes to its applications especially when considering its binding ability.