Dean of the School of Science Steven Bachrach, Ph.D., recently published a paper in Chemical Communications, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, reporting quantum mechanical computations proposing a new Nano-Saturn molecule. Supermolecular chemistry involves the complexation of molecules that are held together by weak interactions, not through true chemical bonds. Examples of supermolecular chemistry include the ways drugs bind to enzymes to inhibit their activities and techniques for removing toxic metals from water streams.

Another active area in supramolecular chemistry is to create molecular systems that mimic structures in the real world. Nano-Saturn molecules are mimics of the planet Saturn, with the central ball replaced by the fullerene molecule C60. A number of different ring molecules have been proposed, and Bachrach’s new suggestion is the first where the central ring is perfectly flat, providing a real molecular analogue of the planet Saturn. The image below provides a representation of the molecules shape.

Bachrach also describes the molecular analogue of a ring on a finger–translated into the same molecular ring placed around a nanotube, as shown below. This type of molecular system might have future application as an antenna or relay.