Another reminder of just how much we still have to learn from nature:
In nature, helical macromolecules such as collagen, chitin and cellulose are critical to the morphogenesis and functionality of various hierarchically structured materials. During tissue formation, these chiral macromolecules are secreted and undergo self-templating assembly, a process whereby multiple kinetic factors influence the assembly of the incoming building blocks to produce non-equilibrium structures. A single macromolecule can form diverse functional structures when self-templated under different conditions. Collagen type I, for instance, forms transparent corneal tissues from orthogonally aligned nematic fibres, distinctively coloured skin tissues from cholesteric phase fibre bundles and mineralized tissues from hierarchically organized fibres. Nature’s self-templated materials surpass the functional and structural complexity achievable by current top-down and bottom-up fabrication methods.
This kind of extreme selectivity, while prominent in nature, is unprecedented for a synthetic structure, says University at Buffalo chemistry professor Bing Gong…
“The idea for this research originated from the biological world, from our hope to mimic biological structures, and we were thrilled by the results,” Gong says. “We have created the first quantitatively confirmed synthetic water channel. Few synthetic pores are so highly selective.” Continued at http://www.futurity.org