Crystal engineering

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

  • Reviews |

    This Review outlines the ability of DNA to direct the organization of particle-based building blocks into crystalline architectures. These advancements permit programmable control of each structural element of colloidal crystalline materials and enable the design of functional and responsive behaviours.

    • Christine R. Laramy
    • , Matthew N. O’Brien
    •  & Chad A. Mirkin
  • Research | | open

    Halogen bonding can be exploited for the design of functional supramolecular materials, but heavier elements that are known to accept a halogen bond remain limited. Here, the authors demonstrate the formation of two-component cocrystals based on halogen bonds with phosphorus, arsenic and antimony.

    • Katarina Lisac
    • , Filip Topić
    • , Mihails Arhangelskis
    • , Sara Cepić
    • , Patrick A. Julien
    • , Christopher W. Nickels
    • , Andrew J. Morris
    • , Tomislav Friščić
    •  & Dominik Cinčić
  • Research | | open

    Conductive organic materials have promising potential applications in molecular electronics, but a limit range of conductive organic structures are known. Here a series of trioxotriangulenes and their mixed-valence salts are characterized; one mixed-valence salt exhibits conductivity of 125 S cm−1 at room temperature.

    • Tsuyoshi Murata
    • , Chiaki Yamada
    • , Ko Furukawa
    •  & Yasushi Morita
  • Research |

    The integration of macromolecular ferritin protein crystals with hydrogel polymers gives a composite material that expands isotropically and reversibly to twice its size while maintaining periodicity, resists fragmentation and self-heals efficiently.

    • Ling Zhang
    • , Jake B. Bailey
    • , Rohit H. Subramanian
    • , Alexander Groisman
    •  & F. Akif Tezcan
    Nature 557, 86-91
  • Research |

    Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/dendrimer sheet scaffolds, i.e., dendrimers attached to the surface of MWCNT buckypaper, were fabricated, and a hydroxyapatite (HAp) coating prepared on dendrimer-modified buckypaper using an alternate soaking process (ASP) is described. The amount of the HAp that is retained on the surface of the MWCNT/dendrimer sheet scaffolds depends on the dendrimer contents. Moreover, biomimetic crystallization of calcium phosphate on buckypaper in simulated body fluid (SBF) was carried out. TEM analysis of the resulting MWCNT/dendrimer sheet scaffolds revealed that the MWCNT backbone was covered with scaly crystals.

    • Tomoyuki Tajima
    • , Tomoaki Tanaka
    • , Hideaki Miyake
    • , Ill Yong Kim
    • , Chikara Ohtsuki
    •  & Yutaka Takaguchi
    Polymer Journal 50, 911-917
  • Research | | open

    Controlling chirality and function in metal organic frameworks has been an achievement, but very difficult to carry out in covalent organic frameworks. Here the authors show chiral covalent organic frameworks that are crystallized from achiral precursors by chiral catalytic induction.

    • Xing Han
    • , Jie Zhang
    • , Jinjing Huang
    • , Xiaowei Wu
    • , Daqiang Yuan
    • , Yan Liu
    •  & Yong Cui

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Molecular crystals have recently started to shake their inflexible reputation. Now, copper(II) acetylacetonate needles have been shown to be very flexible, and their mechanical deformation has been assessed through materials constants using methods customarily reserved for non-molecular materials.

    • Bart Kahr
    •  & Michael D. Ward
  • 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