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PublicationsNIMS affiliated publications since 2004.

Research papers
Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)

Multi-responsive porphyrin/polymer systems


Porphyrins, Polymers, Chirality, Phase separation, Sensing, Imaging


A combination of porphyrin functional macrocycle with suitable stimuli-responsive polymer is a promising route to materials, which can be used for various sensing applications, such as enantiopurity detection, selective detection of anions or impurities, or colourimetric detection of pH or temperature.

Novelty and originality

• Unimolecular systems capable of multiple functions (e.g. sensing and therapeutic action).
• Water-soluble, biocompatible and biodegradable.
• Potential for in situ or in vivo local chirality imaging.
• A wide range of synthetic modifications can be used to tune/modify properties.



Development of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of enantiomeric excess (ee), which can be used to monitor in situ or in vivo local ee, ideally with sub-millimetre spatial resolution. The key is the transfer of chiral information from chiral analyte to achiral detector (a porphyrin-type molecule) with subsequent detection by MR. This system is also of note from the point of view that it does not rely on the formation of diastereomers. This is perhaps counterintuitive given the prevailing opinion that formation of diastereomers is required in the NMR analysis of ee. We call this type of achiral porphyrin detectors a pro-chiral solvating agents (pro-CSAs).
Further peripheral modifications by tetraethylene glycol (TEG) or poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) makes the core porphyrin (TPP) molecules water-soluble. This introduces temperature sensitivity through a phase separation phenomenon and subsequent formation of various supramolecular assemblies, such as 1D supramolecular polymers or large spherical globules.


The method has the potential for further improvements and applications in, for example, pharmaceutical research, where various chiral interconversion, enantioenrichment, or racemization reactions may be studied.


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