Halogen bonding


Halogen bonding is the attractive, non-covalent interaction that can form between an electrophilic region of a halogen atom in a molecule and a nucleophilic region of a molecule. The bonding can be exploited in areas such as supramolecular chemistry, crystal engineering and the fabrication of liquid crystals.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    The ability to achieve strong molecular recognition in water is a key challenge for supramolecular chemistry. Now, halogen bonding — the attractive interaction between an electron-deficient halogen atom and a Lewis base — has been shown to be superior to hydrogen bonding for strong anion binding in water. Ripple image: © PhotoDisc/Getty Images.

    • Matthew J. Langton
    • , Sean W. Robinson
    • , Igor Marques
    • , Vítor Félix
    •  & Paul D. Beer
    Nature Chemistry 6, 1039–1043
  • Research |

    Halogen atoms have been observed in several different classes of natural product, but very few halogenated natural products have been isolated from terrestrial plants. These authors show that biosynthetic machinery responsible for chlorination events in bacteria could be introduced into the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus. Prokaryotic halogenases function within the plant cells to generate chlorinated tryptophan, which is then used by the monoterpene indole alkaloid metabolic pathways to yield chlorinated alkaloids.

    • Weerawat Runguphan
    • , Xudong Qu
    •  & Sarah E. O’Connor
    Nature 468, 461–464

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Halogen bonding connects a wide range of subjects — from materials science to structural biology, from computation to crystal engineering, and from synthesis to spectroscopy. The 1st International Symposium on Halogen Bonding explored the state of the art in this fast-growing field of research.

    • Mate Erdelyi
    Nature Chemistry 6, 762–764
  • News and Views |

    Rotaxanes with cyclodextrin end groups have been used as a platform to investigate anion binding in water, revealing that halogen bonding can serve as the basis for molecular recognition in aqueous solvents, which may have implications in medicinal chemistry and beyond.

    • Mark S. Taylor
    Nature Chemistry 6, 1029–1031
  • News and Views |

    The behaviour of di-selenol enzyme mimics indicates that a halogen bond between selenium and iodine, and a chalcogen interaction between the two selenium atoms, play an important role in the activation of thyroid hormones.

    • Pierangelo Metrangolo
    •  & Giuseppe Resnati
    Nature Chemistry 4, 437–438