Crystal engineering

Definition

Crystal engineering is the design of molecular solids with specific physical and chemical properties through an understanding and manipulation of intermolecular interactions. Engineering strategies typically rely on hydrogen bonding and coordination bonds, but can also use other interactions, such as halogen bonds and π–π interactions.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The design and prediction of network topology is challenging, even when the components' principle interactions are strong. Now, frameworks with relatively weak 'chiral recognition' between organic building blocks have been synthesized and rationalized in silico — an important development in the reticular synthesis of molecular crystals.

    • Caroline Mellot-Draznieks
    •  & Anthony K. Cheetham
  • News and Views |

    New findings suggest that the mechanical stretching of layered crystals can transform them from a polar to a nonpolar state. This could spur the design of multifunctional materials controlled by an electric field.

    • Venkatraman Gopalan
    •  & Roman Engel-Herbert
    Nature Materials 15, 928–930
  • News and Views |

    Attempts to create a porous molecular crystal by removing solvent molecules from a solvate usually lead the host to reorganize into a non-porous close-packed structure. The 'virtual porosity' of such an organic cage crystal has now been trapped by introducing a judiciously chosen co-crystal former that prevents rearrangement of the host lattice.

    • Leonard J. Barbour
    Nature Chemistry 7, 97–99
  • News and Views |

    Two reports demonstrate that with the right molecules and the right crystalline arrangement, it is not only possible to create two-dimensional crystals, but also to separate them into single-molecule-thick sheets — so-called two-dimensional polymers.

    • Neil R. Champness
    Nature Chemistry 6, 757–759
  • News and Views |

    Planar patterns of colloidal microparticles have been manufactured with high yield over square centimetre areas by using magnetic-field microgradients in a paramagnetic fluid. This approach could evolve into technology capable of printing three-dimensional objects through programmable and reconfigurable 'magnetic pixels'.

    • Changqian Yu
    • , Jie Zhang
    •  & Steve Granick