The development of supramolecular materials that are self-disposing
The research group around Job Boekhoven, professor of Supramolecular Chemistry at TUM and Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Fellow at TUM-IAS, has developed self-disposing supramolecular materials.
This method is based on a common biological process: Molecular building blocks can form supramolecular structures if energy is added. When that energy is exhausted, those structures disintegrate into their basic building blocks which can later be reused by adding new high-energy molecules. That means, materials can assemble and disassemble themselves whereby their lifetime depends on the amount of added energy. This natural principle might now be used to decompose man-made substances which are usually very stable. Using that technique could be a solution for the growing waste problem we have nowadays even though a lot more research on that topic is needed.
You can find the full press release here.
Marta Tena-Solsona, Benedikt Rieß, Raphael K. Grötsch, Franziska C. Löhrer, Caren Wanzke, Benjamin Käsdorf, Andreas R. Bausch, Peter Müller-Buschbaum, Oliver Lieleg, Job Boekhoven: “Far-from-equilibrium supramolecular materials with a tunable lifetime,” Nature Communications 8, 15895, (2017); DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15895