Chemists Become Molecular Sculptors, Synthesizing Tiny, 
Molecular Traps

Tube-shaped traps carved from bottle-brush molecules could be used to capture and purify nanomaterials, proteins

Story content courtesy of the University of Buffalo, US

University at Buffalo (UB) chemists have synthesized tiny, molecular cages that can be used to capture and purify nanomaterials. Sculpted from a "bottle-brush molecule," the traps consist of tiny, organic tubes whose interior walls carry a negative charge. This feature enables the tubes to selectively encapsulate only positively charged particles.

Because UB scientists construct the tubes from scratch, they can create traps of different sizes that snare molecular prey of different sizes. These kinds of cages could be used, in the future, to expedite tedious tasks, such as segregating large quantum dots from small quantum dots, or separating proteins by size and charge. Research leader for this project is Javid Rzayev, UB assistant professor of chemistry.

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