2007 Volume 80 Issue 6 Pages 1044-1057
The creation of functional materials such as ion channels, porous sensors, or smart photosystems depends critically on our ability to assemble sophisticated, error-free and self-repairing nanoarchitecture in a predictable manner. To address these challenging topics, we often used lipid bilayer membranes as compartmentalizing platform and have introduced rigid-rod molecules as privileged scaffolds that bypass all folding problems because they do not fold. This approach provides access to motifs such as rigid-rod barrels, helices, stacks, slides, and wires that can act as smart, stimuli-responsive photosystems, pores, ion channels, hosts, sensors, and catalysts. The selected examples focus on naphthalenediimides (NDIs), a compact, organizable, colorizable, and functionalizable n-semiconductor. This versatile module is used in rigid-rod molecules to mediate transmembrane anion transport by anion–π interactions, as sticky π-clamp within pore sensors to catch otherwise elusive analytes by aromatic electron donor–acceptor interactions, or in blue, transmembrane π-stack architecture to collect and convert photonic energy. These specific examples with multifunctional NDI nanoarchitecture are of help to outline, on the one hand, possibilities to contribute to advanced functional materials such as multianalyte sensors or solar cells and, on the other hand, to keep on wondering about an enormous structural and functional space waiting to be explored.
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