Published Research - Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



Zhou, X. et al. Self-assembling subnanometer pores with unusual mass-transport properties. Nat. Commun. 3:949 doi: 10.1038/ncomms1949 (2012).


U. S. government work.


A long-standing aim in molecular self-assembly is the development of synthetic nanopores capable of mimicking the mass-transport characteristics of biological channels and pores. Here we report a strategy for enforcing the nanotubular assembly of rigid macrocycles in both the solid state and solution based on the interplay of multiple hydrogen-bonding and aromatic π − π stacking interactions. The resultant nanotubes have modifiable surfaces and inner pores of a uniform diameter defined by the constituent macrocycles. The self-assembling hydrophobic nanopores can mediate not only highly selective transmembrane ion transport, unprecedented for a synthetic nanopore, but also highly efficient transmembrane water permeability. These results establish a solid foundation for developing synthetically accessible, robust nanostructured systems with broad applications such as reconstituted mimicry of defined functions solely achieved by biological nanostructures, molecular sensing, and the fabrication of porous materials required for water purification and molecular separations.