Reversible biochemical switching of ionic transport through aligned carbon nanotube membranes

P. Nednoor, N. Chopra, V. Gavalas, L. G. Bachas, B. J. Hinds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Synthetic nanopore membranes can be used to mimic ion channels provided that molecular transport through membranes is precisely gated with selective and reversible chemical interactions. Aligned nanotubes of carbon or other inorganic materials can be assembled to construct higher-order supramolecular architectures using polymer films to force chemical flux through hollow cores. Open tips of carbon nanotubes (CNT) can be activated to have carboxylic groups, which can be easily derivatized with a molecule that binds to a bulky receptor that can open/close the pore entrance. In particular, the core entrances of an aligned CNT membrane were functionalized with a desthiobiotin derivative that binds reversibly to streptavidin, thereby enabling a reversible closing/opening of the core entrance. Ionic flux through the CNT membrane was monitored using optically absorbing charged marker molecules. The flux is reduced by a factor of 24 when the desthiobiotin on the CNT is coordinated with streptavidin; release of streptavidin increases the flux, demonstrating a reversible ion-channel flow. Analysis of solutions of released streptavidin shows approximately 16 bound streptavidin molecules per CNT tip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3595-3599
Number of pages5
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 12 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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