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Posted: Feb 28, 2014

Nanotube twins - Coupled carbon and peptide nanotubes achieved for the first time

(Nanowerk News) Researchers from the Centro Singular de Investigación en Química Biológica y Materiales Moleculares (CIQUS) at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, obtained hybrid structures with complementary properties of nanotubes and self-assembling cyclic peptide nanotubes.
This work, led by CIQUS researchers Juan Granja and Javier Montenegro, describes the production of a hybrid structures composed of carbon nanotube single-walled (SWCNTs) and self-assembling cyclic peptide nanotubes (SCPNs), that can be applied in various areas of biology or nanotechnology.
The results have been published in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society ("Coupling of Carbon and Peptide Nanotubes"), highlighting the complementary and synergistic properties derived from each type of nantotube structure.
Coupled carbon and peptide nanotubes
The biocompatible nature of the peptide nanotubes would improve, among others, the adaptability of the carbon nanotubes in physiological conditions. Furthermore, the system and the complementary electrical properties are of interest for the preparation of nanoscale and electronic devices free of short circuits.
Cyclic peptides self-assemble via hydrogen bonding, forming stacked tubular nanotubes, with complete control of diameter and functionalization.
In this work, the researchres report preparative synergies between SWCNTs and SCPNs. More specifically, they have designed cyclic peptides that engage CNTs noncovalently and thereby exploit them as a rigs for the assembly of the cyclic peptides into SCPNs. Attachment to the π surface of CNTs stabilizes the assembly of peptide nanotubes, and the hydrophilic side chains on the attached SCPNs in turn stabilize the CNTs in aqueous solution.
The deposition of these nanoscale and complementary structures on different surfaces allows the formation of twin nanotubes having synergistic properties derived from each individual and complementary structure. Thus, for example, the formation of organized networks of peptide nanotubes on surfaces allows the alignment of the carbon nanotubes on a common axis.
Characterization by atomic force microscopy confirms hybrid different electrical properties of each nanotube – peptide: insulator; carbon: conductor – and allows the fabrication of similar insulating coated wire and hybrid nanometer-sized tubes.
Source: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
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