Reproducing the structure and function of biological membrane channels, synthetic nanopores have been developed for applications in membrane filtration technologies and biomolecular sensing. Stable stand-alone synthetic nanopores have been created from a variety of materials, including peptides, nucleic acids, synthetic polymers, and solid-state membranes. In contrast to biological nanopores, however, furnishing such synthetic nanopores with an atomically defined shape, including deliberate placement of each and every chemical group, remains a major challenge. Here, we introduce a chemosynthetic macromolecule-extended pillararene macrocycle (EPM)-as a chemically defined transmembrane nanopore that exhibits selective transmembrane transport. Our ionic current measurements reveal stable insertion of individual EPM nanopores into a lipid bilayer membrane and remarkable cation type-selective transport, with up to a 21-fold selectivity for potassium over sodium ions. Taken together, direct chemical synthesis offers a path to de novo design of a new class of synthetic nanopores with custom transport functionality imprinted in their atomically defined chemical structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry