Scientists developed a way to make carbon-based molecules with a unique structural feature: interlocking rings.
Why this is important:
- The linked-together molecules have interesting properties that can be "tuned" by changing their size and chemical makeup.
- The paper published Jan. 12 in Nature Chemistry.
- The new interlocking rings could potentially be used for an array of applications, such as specialized sensors and new kinds of electronics. They also could be used to create flexible electronics or dynamic biomedical materials.
How it works:
- Though other labs have also synthesized various types of interlocking molecules, this method allows carbon nanotube-like structures to be linked together.
- It will allow chemists to make many different variations on the structure and more fully explore the properties of the new materials.
- "It's a new topology for carbon nanomaterials, and we're finding new properties that we haven't been able to see before," said James May, a graduate student in chemistry professor Ramesh Jasti's lab and the first author on the paper.
- "You can create structures you can't with other methods," Jasti said.
- The advance grew out of Jasti's work on nanohoops, rings of carbon atoms that are a pared-back variation of long, skinny carbon nanotubes.
- "Because we're able to make these circular structures at will, I started thinking, could you make things that just don't exist in nature?" Jasti said. "That's where this idea of interlocking rings came in."
- Jasti Research Group: https://jastilab.uoregon.edu/