The bond of two stars of chemistry: graphene and porphyrin

From Nanowerk News:

Porphyrins, the same molecules that convey oxygen in haemoglobin and absorb light during photosynthesis, can be joined to the material of the future, graphene, to give it new properties. This was recently shown by a team of scientists at the Technical University of Munich, in which a Spanish researcher also participated (Nature Chemistry, “Fusing tetrapyrroles to graphene edges by surface-assisted covalent coupling”). The resulting hybrid structures could be used in the field of molecular electronics and in developing new sensors.

At the moment, it is difficult to find a material that attracts as much attention from scientists and engineers as graphene, which is made up of a layer of carbon atoms arrange in a hexagonal structure. It is flexible, extremely thin and clear, while being highly resistant and a conductor of electricity – ideal requirements for a number of uses, especially in the field of electronics.However, using graphene to capture solar energy or as a gas sensor requires specific properties which it lacks, although it can acquire them by addition or functionalisation with certain molecules.

A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), led by Professor Wilhelm Auwärter, has succeeded in bonding an important biochemical group to the graphene sheet: porphyrins, protein rings which are part of chlorophyll, essential for photosynthesis in plants, and haemoglobin, which is responsible for conveying oxygen in animals’ blood.

 

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Image Credit:     Yuanqin He – Technical University of Munich

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