Nanoputian – Beautiful combination of Arts and Science

Main Point:

Nanoputian are the kinds of organic compounds having the structural formula same as that of humans.

Dancing structure - Nanoputian (Credit: The Journal of organic Chemistry)

Study Further:

The word “Nanoputian” is made by the combination of nano and lilliputian. “Nano” refers to a billionth and the “Lilliputian” word has been derived from the novel Gulliver’s Travels.

James Tour and colleagues from Rice University designed and introduced these compounds in 2003 as an education for chemistry students.

These compounds have two benzene rings connected through a few carbon atoms that shape the structure as the body. The hands and the legs of the structure are presented by the four acetylene units having an alkyl group at their ends. Head of the structure is represented by 1, 3-dioxolane ring.

Several other types of putians, such as NanoAthlete, NanoPilgrim, NanoGreenBeret, and so on, can be produced by replacing 1,3-dioxolane part with some other suitable ring structure.

Placing thiol functional groups at the leg enables them to stand on a gold surface.

You can see some of the structures below:

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Chanteau, S., & Tour, J. (2003). Synthesis of Anthropomorphic Molecules:  The NanoPutians The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 68 (23), 8750-8766 DOI: 10.1021/jo0349227

Chanteau, S., Ruths, T., & Tour, J. (2003). Arts and Sciences Reunite in Nanoput: Communicating Synthesis and the Nanoscale to the Layperson Journal of Chemical Education, 80 (4) DOI: 10.1021/ed080p395

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.