A functioning nanomachine in the form of a supramolecular nanovalve that opens and closes the orifices to molecular-sized pores and releases a small number of molecules on demand is reported. The nanovalve, which is used to open and close the nanocontainer, is a pseudorotaxane composed of two components - a long thread containing a 1,5-dioxnaphthalene donor unit, which is attached to the solid support, and the moving part, the tetracationic cyclophane acceptor/receptor, cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene), which controls access to the interior of the nanopore. The nanocontainer is made out of mesoporous silica by using a dip-coating method. Operating the nanovalve involves three steps: (i) filling the container, (ii) closing the valve, and (iii) opening the valve to release the contents of the container on demand. The tubular pores, which are approximately 2 nm wide, are filled with stable luminescent Ir(ppy)3 molecules by allowing them to diffuse into the open pores. The orifices are then closed by pseudorotaxane formation. An external reducing reagent (NaCNBH3) is used to effect dethreading of the pseudorotaxane so as to unlock the tubes and allow the guest molecules to be released. This nanovalve is a supramolecular machine consisting of a solid framework with moving parts capable of doing useful work.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry