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Development of Janus Nanotubes Increases Potential of New Drug and Water Purification Discoveries and Innovations

Published in Water Filtration
Written by Nicholas Papp

Creation Date Tuesday, 19 November 2013.

Scientists from the University of Warwick and the University of Sidney recently created the Janus Nanotubes through a process of molecular engineering. This innovation can be used to improve a number of processes and systems, such as the development of new drug systems and water purification advancements. Janus Nanotubes’ two main building blocks are cyclic peptides and the highly versatile material, polymer.

Janus Nanotubes are two-faced, minuscule tubes, intended as a versatile platform for designing innovative materials which can be applied for widely diverse applications from membrane. The nanotubes feature a tubular structure, modeled after cyclic peptides’ stacking framework. This provides a single tube with a channel of around 1nm. This channel size is the perfect dimension to enable passage of small ions and molecules. Each of the cyclic peptides has two different kinds of polymers attached, which tend to separate and form a shell for the two-faced tube. The nanotubes’ defining feature is its two faces—the reason why it is named after the Roman God Janus, popular for having two faces.

Both faces have two outstanding characteristics. During solid state, they could be used to produce solid state membranes, which can act as a molecular filter to de-mix liquids and gases per molecule. This characteristic will heighten the potential of applications like gas storage, water desalination, and water purification.

The second characteristic involves being in a solution, where “they assemble in lipids bilayers, the structure that forms the membrane of cells, and they organize themselves to form pores which allow the passage of molecules of precise sizes.” In this state, the Janus nanotubes could be used to develop groundbreaking drug systems—this process can be completed by controlling the transport of small molecules or ions inside cells.

There is an astounding amount of activity inside the body to transport the correct chemicals in the correct quantities both into and out of cells, said Sebastian Pierrer from the University of Warwick.

He also said that the development of the Janus Nanotube gives rise to the emergence of a new material: the nanotubes, which can be useful as a replacement for channel processes. In addition, he stated that the process can be controlled with more accuracy compared to natural channel proteins with the use of nanotubes.

This new, more efficient and highly controllable innovation in the field of filtration systems will encourage the materialization of better laboratory water purification systems. AQUA SOLUTIONS, INC. offers high-quality laboratory water purification systems that generate ultrapure water for industrial uses. Browse through our Type I Ultra-Pure 18.2 Meg and Type I Ultra-Pure 18.2 Meg RO+DI systems that all meet or exceed ASTM, CAP and CLSI specifications.

About the Author

Nicholas Papp

Nicholas Papp

Nicholas Papp has a B.S. in Physics, with Minors in Chemistry and Math, from Baldwin-Wallace College. He is the Vice President and General Manager of AQUA SOLUTIONS, INC., and has worked in the water filtration/purification industry for more than 35 years.