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J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Oct 20;126(41):13400-5.

Self-assembly of biocidal nanotubes from a single-chain diacetylene amine salt.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


We describe the facile two-step synthesis of nanotubes that form pure, well-defined, nanostructured materials. We have synthesized a secondary amine HBr salt as the headgroup of a single-chain diacetylenic lipid. This molecule can form a number of different self-assembled nanostructures in aqueous or organic solvents. In water, this lipid forms a monodisperse preparation of nanotubes at high yields. Partially dissolving a preparation of nanotubes dried from aqueous solution results in a remarkably organized structure that resembles a nanocarpet. Details of the nanotube structure were investigated by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and small-angle X-ray spectroscopy. The aqueous nanotubes have a cross-sectional diameter of 89 nm. The walls of the tubes are an exquisitely uniform 27 nm thick and are shown to consist of five lipid bilayers with a repeat spacing of 57.8 A. The chemical structure of the material shows no chiral centers, but suspensions of the nanotubes in an aqueous medium show an unexpected circular dichroism signal. The versatility of this new material as a platform for nanostructure design and synthesis is enhanced by its biocidal activity. This antimicrobial activity along with the regularity the nanostructures will enhance the development of a range of applications from biosensors to artificial retinas.

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