Biomimetics: The chemical tricks of our blood

ScienceDaily | 11/8/2018 | Staff
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In order to understand the subtle tricks of such complex molecules, it is worth investigating similar but simpler structures in the lab. In a cooperation between TU Wien (Vienna) and research groups from Trieste, phthalocyanines have now been studied, whose molecular ring structure closely resembles the crucial sections of hemoglobin or chlorophyll. It turned out that the center of these ring structures can be switched into different states with the help of green light, which affects their chemical behavior.

Not only does this help to understand biological processes, it also opens up new possibilities for using the tricks of nature in the laboratory for other purposes -- a strategy called "biomimetics" that is becoming increasingly important all around the world.

Phthalocyanines - Dyes - Ring - Structure - Prof

"The phthalocyanines that we study are colorful dyes with a characteristic ring structure," says Prof. Günther Rupprechter from the Institute of Material Chemistry at the Vienna University of Technology. "Crucial to this ring structure is that it can hold an iron atom in its center -- just like the heme, the ring-shaped red dyes in hemoglobin. Chlorophyll, on the other hand, has a similar ring that captures magnesium atoms. "

In contrast to the more complicated natural molecules, the custom-made phthalocyanine dyes can be regularly placed side by side on a surface, such as tiles on the bathroom wall. "The rings were placed on a graphene layer in a regular pattern, so that a two-dimensional crystal of dye rings was created," says Matteo Roiaz, who conducted the experiments together with Christoph Rameshan. "This has the advantage that we can examine many molecules at the same time, which gives us much stronger measurement signals," explains Christoph Rameshan.

Carbon - Monoxide - Probes - Rings - Molecule

Carbon monoxide molecules served as probes for investigating these rings: one molecule can attach to the iron atom,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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