Proton and calcium-gated ionic mesochannels: phosphate-bearing polymer brushes hosted in mesoporous thin films as biomimetic interfacial architectures
ABSTRACT Rational construction of interfaces based on multi-component responsive systems in which molecular transport is mediated by structures of nanoscale dimensions has become a very fertile research area in biomimetic supramolecular chemistry. Herein, we describe the creation of hybrid mesostructured interfaces with reversible gate-like transport properties that can be controlled by chemical inputs, such as protons or calcium ions. This was accomplished by taking advantage of the surface-initiated polymerization of 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl phosphate (MEP) monomer units into and onto mesoporous silica thin films. In this way, phosphate-bearing polymer brushes were used as “gatekeepers” located not only on the outer surface of mesoporous thin films but also in the inner environment of the porous scaffold. Pore-confined PMEP brushes respond to the external triggering chemical signals not only by altering their physicochemical properties but also by switching the transport properties of the mesoporous film. The ion-gate response/operation was based on the protonation and/or chelation of phosphate monomer units in which the polymer brush works as an off-on switch in response to the presence of protons or Ca2+ ions. The hybrid meso-architectured interface and their functional features were studied by a combination of experimental techniques including ellipso-porosimetry, cyclic voltammetry, X-ray reflectivity, grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and in situ atomic force microscopy. In this context, we believe that the integration of stimuli-responsive polymer brushes into nanoscopic supramolecular architectures would provide new routes toward multifunctional biomimetic nanosystems displaying transport properties similar to those encountered in biological ligand-gated ion channels.
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ABSTRACT: Electrochemistry can be used for fabrication and characterization of mesoporous oxide films. First, this review provides insight into the methods used to prepare templated mesoporous thin films on an electrode surface, i.e., evaporation-induced self-assembly (EISA) and electrochemically assisted self-assembly (EASA). Electrochemical characterization of mass transport processes in pure and organically functionalized mesoporous oxide films is then discussed. The electrochemical response can be basically restricted by the electron/mass transfer reaction at the electrode-film interface and diffusion through mesopore channels. The contributions of cyclic voltammetry, hydrodynamic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and scanning electrochemical microscopy to the characterization of films with distinct mesostructures are finally described, with special emphasis on identification of conditions that can affect the electrochemical response recorded with such modified electrodes.Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 09/2012; · 3.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In this letter, we study the effect of cation charge on anion selectivity in the pore using grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations. The mechanism of anion selectivity inside nanopores was found to be primarily a consequence of the screening of negative charges by the cations. In the case of monovalent cations, screening was not very effective and anions were rejected. We found an 'off-state' at high pH and an 'on-state' at low pH. When there are divalent cations, screening is good and there is no rejection of the anion. The concentration of anions at high pH is similar to that at low pH. The system is always in an 'on-state'. Trivalent cations show an inverse selectivity mechanism: at high pH the concentration is higher than at low pH, i.e., the pore is in the 'on-state' at high pH and in the 'off-state' at low pH.Journal of Molecular Modeling 01/2013; · 1.87 Impact Factor