Molecular capsules

Molecular capsules are molecular scaffolds that have a cavity that can be used to hold a guest molecule. The capsules are of particular interest in the development of nanoscale reactors that can manipulate the chemistry of the trapped species, and in applications such as catalysis and drug delivery.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Designing systems to drive endergonic reactions using light as an energy source is a major challenge. Here a photoswitchable ligand is used to generate unstable cyclic tetravanadate species in solution.

    • Hanno Sell
    • , Anika Gehl
    • , Daniel Plaul
    • , Frank D. Sönnichsen
    • , Christian Schütt
    • , Felix Köhler
    • , Kim Steinborn
    •  & Rainer Herges
  • Research | | open

    The hydration and ion pairing of metal-organic supramolecular cages plays a crucial role in their interaction with guests but is difficult to quantify with standard analysis. Here, the authors show that microwave microfluidics to measure the hydration and ion pairing of two tetrahedral metal-organic cages.

    • Angela C. Stelson
    • , Cynthia M. Hong
    • , Mitchell C. Groenenboom
    • , Charles A. E. Little
    • , James C. Booth
    • , Nathan D. Orloff
    • , Robert G. Bergman
    • , Kenneth N. Raymond
    • , Kathleen A. Schwarz
    • , F. Dean Toste
    •  & Christian J. Long
  • Research | | open

    Photoresponsive molecular capsules that can be used in water are rare. Here, the authors construct polyaromatic nanocapsules via self-assembly from photoswitch-bearing amphiphilic molecules in water. Light induces a structural change in the amphiphiles, triggering the capsule to disassemble into monomers and release encapsulated guests.

    • Lorenzo Catti
    • , Natsuki Kishida
    • , Tomokuni Kai
    • , Munetaka Akita
    •  & Michito Yoshizawa
  • Research | | open

    In this paper, the authors study the temperature-controlled dynamic behavior of a system of nanocubes self-assembled from two different building blocks. Non-intuitively, the disordered, equilibrium state (a mixture of heteroleptic cubes) and the ordered, out-of-equilibrium state (a mixture of homoleptic cubes) are cycled by heating and subsequent rapid cooling.

    • Yi-Yang Zhan
    • , Tatsuo Kojima
    • , Kentaro Ishii
    • , Satoshi Takahashi
    • , Yohei Haketa
    • , Hiromitsu Maeda
    • , Susumu Uchiyama
    •  & Shuichi Hiraoka
  • Research | | open

    Adapting the cavity of a coordination capsule generally involves the addition or removal of subcomponents. Here, the authors report two vanadium-organic coordination nanocapsules with the same number of components but variable cavity sizes—an expanded ball and contracted octahedron—whose solvent-controlled interconversion is attributed to the versatile coordination geometry of the vanadium centers.

    • Kongzhao Su
    • , Mingyan Wu
    • , Daqiang Yuan
    •  & Maochun Hong

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The chemical synthesis of natural products, such as sesquiterpenes, is a daunting task due to their complexity and precise functionalization, and multiple synthetic and purification steps that reduce overall yields are usually required. Now, a highly efficient alternative approach using supramolecular chemistry has been proposed by Tiefenbacher and co-workers.

    • Dan Thomas Major
    Nature Catalysis 1, 567-568
  • News and Views |

    The ability of enzymes to direct the synthesis of complex natural products from simple starting materials is epitomized by terpene biosynthesis. Now, a supramolecular catalyst has been shown to mimic some of the reactivity of this process.

    • Jeremy J. Roach
    •  & Ryan A. Shenvi
    Nature Chemistry 7, 187-189
  • 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 |

    A synthetic compound that transports chloride across membranes can kill both normal cells and cancer cells in vitro. The transporter works together with sodium channels to move NaCl into the cells, which triggers cell death.

    • Jeffery T. Davis
    Nature Chemistry 6, 852-853