Volume 89 Issue 45 | p. 25 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 7, 2011

Molecule Tied In Pentafoil Knot

Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: pentafoil knot, one-pot synthesis, molecular assembly
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A pentafoil knot self-assembles in one pot; Fe2+ are blue spheres, Cl is a green sphere, bis-amines are gray and red, and bis-aldehydes are represented by other colors.
Credit: Nat. Chem.
A pentafoil knot self-assembles in one-pot; Fe2+ = blue spheres, Cl- = green sphere, bis-amines are gray and red, and bis-aldehydes are represented by other colors.
 
A pentafoil knot self-assembles in one pot; Fe2+ are blue spheres, Cl is a green sphere, bis-amines are gray and red, and bis-aldehydes are represented by other colors.
Credit: Nat. Chem.

Chemists have combined five multicomponent molecules into the shape of a penta­foil knot, the most complex non-DNA molecular knot yet created (Nat. Chem., DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1193). Knots are common motifs in DNA and proteins. But until now, chemists had only succeeded in synthesizing non-DNA molecules into much simpler trefoil knots. David A. Leigh of the University of Edinburgh and colleagues developed a one-pot method in which five bis-aldehyde and five bis-amine species mix with up to five iron cations and a chloride anion. The molecule self-assembles into a 160-atom monster loop with five crossing points, which surrounds the chloride anion. The molecular knot binds chloride extremely strongly and selectively over other anions, a property that could lead to application as a chemical sensor, the researchers note. “We anticipate that the strategies and tactics used here can be applied to the rational synthesis of other higher order interlocked molecular architectures,” they write.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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