A molecule that goes well with Halloween.
Halloween is coming. Let's introduce a molecule that goes well with Halloween-- Cucurbituril, which can also be called melon ring in Chinese.
(I was looking for a picture of cucurbituril and pumpkin, but there was nothing to see, so I tried to draw one myself)
cucurbituril is a kind of circular molecule made up of n glycoluril units. It is so named because the molecule is a bit like a pumpkin in the cucurbit family. This kind of molecule was first synthesized in 1905, and the first ring molecule composed of six units was obtained by the reaction of glycoluril with formaldehyde. Later, a series of homologues with different units and derivative molecules with different groups were obtained.
the following picture shows the synthesis and molecular structure of cucurbituril. The side picture still feels like a pumpkin.
as a ring molecule with a cavity in the middle, cucurbituril can bind non-covalently with some suitable organic molecules or ions, and it can also be strung to linear molecules like beads to form a structure called "rotane". Because of this property, they have potential applications in many aspects, such as designing molecular machines, manufacturing sustained-release drugs, chromatographic separation of specific substances and so on. Researchers are interested in these "molecular pumpkins".
for more extended reading, please see the introduction to Molecule of the Month: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/cucurbituril/Cucurbituril.htm
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