ACS Conference Brief: An Innovative Molecular Assembly

March 26, 1998

Chemists Assemble Molecular Package with Promise

Supramolecular arrays -- complex molecules that people could use to monitor or influence biological or chemical activity -- might identify spoiled seafood, carry drugs to tumor sites, or filter uranium ions from nuclear wastewater. The challenge is in designing and building them.

UC Davis researchers have been exploring two molecules of particular interest -- calixarene and porphyrin, which has a sensitivity to light that can be manipulated by changes in pH conditions.

At the American Chemical Society's meeting in Dallas on March 29, Richard Khoury, a post-graduate chemistry researcher, will describe the first construction of a calix[4]arenoporphyrin (pronounced KAY-licks four uh-REEN-o POR-fur-in), a calixarene molecule incorporating four porphyrin units.

It could be the basis for particularly efficient and versatile sensors. Also, the molecule's structure has a surprising dome shape, making it a candidate for mimicking similar molecules of interest, such as the dome-shaped, light-harvesting components in photosynthetic bacteria.

Khoury collaborated on the work with colleagues in the research group of Kevin Smith, the UC Davis vice chancellor for research and a professor of chemistry.
Media contact:
Sylvia Wright, News Service, (530) 752-7704,

University of California - Davis

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