Metal–Organic Nanotubes That Are Cut and Pasted in Response to Redox Stimuli

  We discovered that a ferrocene-based ligand, upon complexation with Ag(I) ions, self-assembles into metal–organic nanotubes.  Oxidation of the ferrocene units results in cutting of the nanotubes into their constituent nanorings through attenuation of the inter-nanoring interaction.  The resultant nanorings can be transferred onto inorganic substrates electrostatically or allowed to reassemble to form the original nanotubes by reductive neutralization of the oxidized ferrocene units.  This is the first demonstration of a challenging idea of “nanoscale cutting and pasting” using molecular self-assembly.

Highlighted in Science Perspectives by Prof. I. Manners