Molecular recognition at the air-water interface: nanoarchitectonics design and physicochemical understanding
Although molecular recognitions at the air-water interface have been researched over 30 years, investigations on their fundamental aspects are still active research targets in current science. In this perspective article, developments and future possibilities of molecular recognitions at the air-water interface from pioneering research efforts to current examples are overviewed especially from physico-chemical viewpoints. Significant enhancements of binding constants for molecular recognition are actually observed at the air-water interface although molecular interactions such as hydrogen bonding are usually suppressed in aqueous media. Recent advanced analytical strategies for direct characterization of interfacial molecules also confirms promoted formation of hydrogen bonding at the air-water interfaces. Traditional quantum chemical approaches indicate that modulation of electronic distributions through effects from low-dielectric phases would be origin of enhanced molecular interaction at the air-water interface. Further theoretical consideration suggest that unusual potential changes for enhanced molecular interactions are available only within limited range from the interface. These results would be related with molecular recognitions in biomolecular systems that are similarly supported by promoted molecular interactions at interfacial environments such as cell membranes, surfaces of protein interiors, and macromolecular interfaces.