University of Cambridge > > Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group > Biomimicry with Synthetic Receptors: Self-Assembly and Molecular Recognition

Biomimicry with Synthetic Receptors: Self-Assembly and Molecular Recognition

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The focus of our research is towards novel multicomponent self-assembly and molecular recognition processes. This research centers on controlling the interior space of self-assembled metal ligand complexes in order to mimic the behavior of enzyme active sites in a purely synthetic environment. Appending functional groups to the cage interiors allows control of self-assembly processes including stereocontrol at metal centers, ligand self-sorting and chemical reactivity. In addition, the presence of reactive functional groups allows post-synthetic modification of sensitive cage structures.

In addition, we have shown that water-soluble deep cavitands (small molecules capable of selective aqueous molecular recognition) can be incorporated into membrane bilayers assembled onto a nanoglassified surface. The receptors retain their selective host properties, and real-time analysis via surface plasmon resonance and fluorescence microscopy is possible. These receptors have applications in biorecognition and sensing in biomimetic membranes and living cells, as well as the ability to direct nanoscale synthesis at the bilayer:water interface.

This talk is part of the Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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