Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New hybrid molecules could lead to materials that function at the nanoscale: Research could lead to improvements in large-scale water purification and solar power

The outcome of the CAREER Award will be new materials with predictable structure and organication on both the molecular scale and nanoscale. A new molecular architecture, dendornized helix bundle assemblies, will be developed under this award. The new molecules are hybrids of highly branched polymers called dendrons, which promote organization of the 2-D hexagonal array structure having dimensions ~2-10nm, and helical peptides that associate into protein-like bundles. The bundles have a discrete height (~7-10nm), and the precise arrangement of atoms in the bundle can be used to create functional materials such as selectively permeable membranes.

Credit: Jonathan G. Rudick, Stony Brook University
The outcome of the CAREER Award will be new materials with predictable structure and organication on both the molecular scale and nanoscale. A new molecular architecture, dendornized helix bundle assemblies, will be developed under this award. The new molecules are hybrids of highly branched polymers called dendrons, which promote organization of the 2-D hexagonal array structure having dimensions ~2-10nm, and helical peptides that associate into protein-like bundles. The bundles have a discrete height (~7-10nm), and the precise arrangement of atoms in the bundle can be used to create functional materials such as selectively permeable membranes.

Credit: Jonathan G. Rudick, Stony Brook University

Abstract:
Synthetic chemists today have the ability to construct molecules of almost any atomic composition, creating new materials with any number of promising applications that range from sustainable energy and environmental remediation, to high-performance electronics.

New hybrid molecules could lead to materials that function at the nanoscale: Research could lead to improvements in large-scale water purification and solar power

Arlington, VA | Posted on January 14th, 2014

"It is possible to finely tune the properties of molecules through chemical synthesis to achieve just the right balance of properties needed," says Jonathan Rudick, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stony Brook University. "For example, through chemical synthesis, we can select ranges of the solar spectrum that a molecule will absorb, which has been essential for progress made in the area of organic molecules for solar power."

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientist is studying a class of molecules known as dendrons, highly branched molecules shaped like wedges or cones, which pack together to form circular or spherical assemblies with nanoscale dimensions. His group aims to develop a new class of nanoscale materials that can be processed like conventional synthetic polymers, yet retain the high structured order found in proteins.

One potential benefit of their work could be in developing a low-cost, low-weight and compact material that could be used to purify large volumes of water, and prove valuable in developing countries where potable water is difficult to find. It also could be useful in large scale water treatment facilities "where you need to be able to purify large volumes quickly, and the less membrane it takes to do that, the better," he says.

This requires creating the tiniest of channels for the water to pass through, which is not as simple as it sounds.

"The composition lining of the hole determines whether the water will go through," he says. "When you get a hole down to being the size of a molecule, then the interactions between the atoms in the water molecule and the atoms that line the hole become critical as to whether or not the water will go through. It's not like shooting water through a faucet."

Dendrons pose a special challenge in that "there is very little order to how the atoms are arranged within their assembly," making it difficult for scientists to manipulate the atoms, Rudick says.

However, peptides, on the other hand, another class of molecules "can take on a helical conformation, in which the atoms are arranged like a spiral staircase," with known locations for each atom, he explains. "Because the location of each atom in the helical molecule is known, we can accurately anticipate the positions of atoms in bundles of helical peptides."

Their approach, then, is to attempt to design a hybrid using the best features of each. The result would be a new class of molecules, dendronized helix bundle assemblies.

"We anticipate that this new class of materials will allow us to more accurately understand how materials function at the nanoscale," he says.

"We are trying to prove the concept that we can create a material where you can have atomic level control," he adds. "We synthesize new materials. We make these new materials, and we are characterizing the structure of films that can be made from them."

Dendronized helix bundle assemblies "represents a class of molecules that has never been made before," he says. "It's a class of polymer with a perfectly branched molecular structure. We refer to them as 'bio hybrid molecules,' because part is something found in nature, and the other part is synthetic. We are covalently attaching sequences of amino acids that might be found in helical proteins in nature to dendrons."

He is conducting his research under a NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. The grant supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization. NSF is funding his work with about $500,000 over five years.

As part of the grant's educational component, his lab is working with a local high school to teach students about liquid crystals and other forms of soft matter.

Dendronized helix bundle assemblies also could have a major impact in the development of molecular materials for solar power, he says.

"The active components in organic photovoltaic materials are organic molecules that can absorb light called chromophores," he explains. "The arrangement of chromophores in a film plays an important role in determining whether an absorbed photon of light is transformed into energy we can use.

"Furthermore, the best arrangement of chromophores is not yet known, and will likely vary depending on the particular chromophore being used," he adds. "By incorporating chromophores within the helical bundle portion of our hybrid molecular materials, we will be able to systematically explore how to optimize the performance of solar conversion materials."

-- Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © National Science Foundation

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved January 13th, 2017

Chemistry

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Researchers produced nitrogen doped bimodal cellular structure activated carbon December 29th, 2016

Safe and inexpensive hydrogen production as a future energy source: Osaka University researchers develop efficient 'green' hydrogen production system that operates at room temperature in air December 21st, 2016

Scientists boost catalytic activity for key chemical reaction in fuel cells: New platinum-based catalysts with tensile surface strain could improve fuel cell efficiency December 19th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Recreating conditions inside stars with compact lasers: Scientists offer a new path to creating the extreme conditions found in stars, using ultra-short laser pulses irradiating nanowires January 12th, 2017

New laser based on unusual physics phenomenon could improve telecommunications, computing January 12th, 2017

Chip Technology

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

New laser based on unusual physics phenomenon could improve telecommunications, computing January 12th, 2017

Discoveries

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved January 13th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Deciphering the beetle exoskeleton with nanomechanics: Understanding exoskeletons could lead to new, improved artificial materials January 12th, 2017

Announcements

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Environment

Investigating the impact of natural and manmade nanomaterials on living things: Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology develops tools to assess current and future risk January 9th, 2017

PCATDES Starts Field Testing of Photocatalytic Reactors in South East Asia December 28th, 2016

Advance in intense pulsed light sintering opens door to improved electronics manufacturing December 23rd, 2016

Carbon dots dash toward 'green' recycling role: Rice scientists, colleagues use doped graphene quantum dots to reduce carbon dioxide to fuel December 18th, 2016

Energy

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology: New research reveals intrinsic instability issues of iodine-containing perovskite solar cells December 26th, 2016

Nanoscale 'conversations' create complex, multi-layered structures: New technique leverages controlled interactions across surfaces to create self-assembled materials with unprecedented complexity December 22nd, 2016

Safe and inexpensive hydrogen production as a future energy source: Osaka University researchers develop efficient 'green' hydrogen production system that operates at room temperature in air December 21st, 2016

Going green with nanotechnology December 21st, 2016

Water

Scientists have discovered a new state of matter for water January 2nd, 2017

PCATDES Starts Field Testing of Photocatalytic Reactors in South East Asia December 28th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Water, water -- the two types of liquid water: Understanding water's behavior could help with Alzheimer's research November 11th, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology: New research reveals intrinsic instability issues of iodine-containing perovskite solar cells December 26th, 2016

Going green with nanotechnology December 21st, 2016

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells December 1st, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project