Phenanthracene nanotubes with arylene-ethynylene-butadiynylene rims and phenanthracene walls are synthesized in a modular bottom-up approach. One of the rims carries hexadecyloxy side chains, mediating the affinity to highly oriented pyrolytic graphite. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the nanotubes are much more flexible than their structural formulas suggest: In 12, the phenanthracene units act as hinges that flip the two macrocycles relative to each other to one of two possible sites, as quantum mechanical models suggest and scanning tunneling microscopy investigations prove. Unexpectedly, both theory and experiment show for 13 that the three phenanthracene hinges are deflected from the upright position, accompanied by a deformation of both macrocycles from their idealized sturdy macroporous geometry. This flexibility together with their affinity to carbon-rich substrates allows for an efficient host–guest chemistry at the solid/gas interface opening the potential for applications in single-walled carbon nanotube-based sensing, and the applicability to build new sensors for the detection of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene via nitroaromatic markers is shown

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