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Constructing Porphyrin Nanowires in Water

Nanoscale Porphyrin Arrays via Host-Guest Interactions

Multi-porphyrin arrays have potential use in a variety of functional materials, ranging from artificial light harvesting systems to efficient oxidation catalysts, to killing cancer cells. However, the development of controlled porphyrin self-assemblies in water has been hampered by the low solubility of porphyrins and their tendency to form ill-defined aggregates via pi-pi interactions. Prof. Jayawickramarajah, recently received a Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society to work on developing well-controlled porphyrin arrays in aqueous medium. Shown in Figure 1 are TEM and STM images of multi-porphyrin nanowires assembled via cyclodextrin-driven host-guest interactions. This research, published in JACS, entailed an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Chemistry (Jayawickramarajah and Schmehl groups) and the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at Tulane (Diebold group).

Figure 1. On the left, structures of porphyrin 1 and 2 functionalized with permethylated β-cyclodextrin and adamantane moieties, respectively. The simple mixing of these two porphyrin monomers in water leads to the formation of nanowire 3 (as shown in the graphical depiction). On the right, verification of the morphology of the resulting nanowires using TEM (a,b), and STM (c) measurements.

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