Two chemists at The Scripps Research Institute have synthesized a new nano-scale scientific tool — a tiny molecular switch that turns itself on or off as it detects metallic ions in its immediate surroundings.
Featured on the cover of the April 19, 2010 issue of the International Edition of the journal Angewandte Chemie, this molecule may be useful as a laboratory tool for controlling tiny reactions in the test tube, and it has potential to be developed as the basis of a new technology that could sensitively detect metals, toxins, and other pollutants in the air, water, or soil.
The molecule is named "ouroborand" after the mythical Ouroboros ("tail-eater" in Greek) — a lizard-like creature that swallows itself head-to-tail.
This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and supported by a fellowship from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Contact: Keith McKeown firstname.lastname@example.org 858-784-8134 Scripps Research Institute