Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Informatics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Swiss Cheese Crystal, or High-Tech Sponge?

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Bookmark and Share
The remarkable properties of a new, porous material could lead to advances in microscopic sponging

The sponges of the future will do more than clean house.

Picture this, for example: Doctors use a tiny sponge to soak up a drug and deliver it directly to a tumor. Chemists at a manufacturing plant use another to trap and store unwanted gases.

These technologies are what University at Buffalo Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jason Benedict, PhD, had in mind when he led the design of a new material called UBMOF-1. The material — a metal-organic framework, or “MOF” — is a hole-filled crystal that could act as a sponge, capturing molecules of specific sizes and shapes in its pores.

Swiss cheese-like MOFs are not new, but Benedict’s has a couple of remarkable qualities:

• The crystal’s pores change shape when hit by ultraviolet light. This is important because changing the pore structure is one way to control which compounds can enter or exit the pores. You could, for instance, soak up a chemical and then alter the pore size to prevent it from escaping. Secure storage is useful in applications like drug delivery, where “you don’t want the chemicals to come out until they get where they need to be,” Benedict says.

• The crystal also changes color in response to ultraviolet light, going from colorless to red. This suggests that the material’s electronic properties are shifting, which could affect the types of chemical compounds that are attracted into the pores.

Benedict’s team reported on the creation of the UBMOF on Jan. 22 in the journal Chemical Communications. The paper’s coauthors include chemists from UB and Penn State Hazleton.

“MOFs are like molecular sponges — they’re crystals that have pores,” Benedict said.

“Typically, they are these passive materials: They’re static. You synthesize them, and that’s the end of the road,” he added. “What we’re trying to do is to take these passive materials and make them active, so that when you apply a stimulus like light, you can make them change their chemical properties, including the shape of their pores.”

Benedict is a member of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, which the university launched in 2012 to advance the study of new materials that could improve life for future generations.

To force UBMOF-1 respond to ultraviolet light, Benedict and colleagues used some clever synthetic chemistry.

MOF crystals are made from two types of parts — metal nodes and organic rods — and the researchers attached a light-responsive chemical group called a diarylethene to the organic component of their material.

Diarylethene is special because it houses a ring of atoms that is normally open but shuts when exposed to ultraviolet light.

In the UBMOF, the diarylethene borders the crystal’s pores, which means the pores change shape when the diarylethene does.

The next step in the research is to determine how, exactly, the structure of the holes is changing, and to see if there’s a way to get the holes to revert to their original shape.

Rods containing diarylethene can be forced back into the “open” configuration with white light, but this tactic only works when the rods are alone. Once they’re inserted into the crystal, the diarylethene rings stay stubbornly closed in the presence of white light.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,600+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
The Mystery of the Instant Noodle Chromosomes
Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University evaluated the benefits of placing the DNA on the principle of spaghetti.
Web App Helps Researchers Explore Cancer Genetics
Brown University computer scientists have developed a new interactive tool to help researchers and clinicians explore the genetic underpinnings of cancer.
An Innovative Algorithm to Decipher How Drugs Work Inside the Body
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have developed a computer algorithm that is helping scientists see how drugs produce pharmacological effects inside the body.
How do Networks Shape the Spread of Disease and Gossip?
A team of mathematicians from Oxford University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Rutgers University used a set of mathematical rules to encode how a contagion spreads, and then studied the outcomes of these rules.
AncestryDNA and Calico to Research the Genetics of Human Lifespan
Collaboration will analyze family history and genetics to facilitate development of cutting-edge therapeutics.
Informatics Tool Helps Scientists Prioritize Protein Modification Research
Researchers have developed a new informatics technology that analyzes existing data repositories of protein modifications and 3D protein structures to help scientists identify and target research on "hotspots" most likely to be important for biological function.
Software Differences can Skew Medical Scan Results
Differences in software can significantly skew results of medical scans commonly used in clinical care and research.
AMRI, PerkinElmer to Collaborate on Drug Discovery
Albany Molecular Research (AMRI) and PerkinElmer are collaborating to provide drug discovery infrastructure and services in AMRI's newly launched drug discovery center.
Exploring Living cells
JPK reports the exploration of living cells using nanoscale and single molecule techniques through the application of scanning probe microscopy.
Vulnerabilities in Genome's 'Dimmer Switches' Should Shed Light on Hundreds of Complex Diseases
Up to one-fifth of human DNA act as dimmer switches for nearby genes, but scientists have long been unable to identify precisely which mutations in these genetic control regions really matter in causing common diseases.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,600+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!