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Responsive Porous Material Designed at Liverpool
Jan 26 2019 Read 379 Times
Scientists from the University of Liverpool have synthesized a new material that exhibits structural change and triggered chemical activity like a protein.
The scientists produced a flexible crystalline porous material with small pores (< 1 nanometre) composed of metal ions and small peptide molecules that can change its structure in response to its environment to carry out specific chemical processes.
The porous materials currently widely used in industry, for example as catalysts for the production of fuels and chemicals and in environmental remediation technologies as adsorbers of harmful compounds from air and water are rigid, with just one structure; proteins used by living systems to perform chemistry however,can change their structures to carry out chemical processes in response to their environment.
Similar to proteins the new porous material can adopt multiple structures and be controllably transformed from one structure to another by changes in its chemical environment. This allows it to perform a chemical process, such as taking up a particular molecule from its surroundings, in response to an imposed change in the surrounding solution.
Professor Matt Rosseinsky who led the research, said: “These porous materials use the same atomic-scale mechanisms as proteins to switch between structures, which gives us the opportunity to develop new ways to manipulate and change molecules with synthetic materials that are inspired by biology.
“This offers exciting scientific possibilities, for example in catalysis, through the design of materials that can dynamically select the structure needed for a particular task.”
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