Supramolecular chemistry

Supramolecular chemistry is the study of entities of greater complexity than individual molecules — assemblies of molecules that bond and organize through intermolecular interactions. The design and synthesis of supramolecular systems invokes interactions beyond the covalent bond, using, for example, hydrogen bonding, metal coordination and π interactions to bring discrete building blocks together.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Perylenediimide (PDI) radical anions show promise as photothermal agents for phototherapy, but are typically very unstable. Here the authors fabricate a PDI-based metal-organic framework where the PDI units become stable radical anions upon incorporation of amine vapors.

    • Baozhong Lü
    • , Yifa Chen
    • , Pengyu Li
    • , Bo Wang
    • , Klaus Müllen
    •  & Meizhen Yin
  • Reviews |

    When presented with a light stimulus, heteroaryl azo photoswitches undergo molecular motion that can be harnessed for applications in materials science, catalyst design or drug development, among other fields. This Review describes selected subclasses of these versatile chemical motifs, covering their properties and prominent applications.

    • Stefano Crespi
    • , Nadja A. Simeth
    •  & Burkhard König
  • Research | | open

    The search for porous materials with strong Brønsted acid sites for challenging chemical reactions has been of significant interest, but remains challenging. Here the authors report a cage extension strategy to construct chiral permanent porous hydrogen-bonded frameworks with strong Brønsted acid groups for heterogeneous asymmetric catalysis.

    • Wei Gong
    • , Dandan Chu
    • , Hong Jiang
    • , Xu Chen
    • , Yong Cui
    •  & Yan Liu
  • Research | | open

    Self-assembly of carbohydrates play an integral part in the design of higher ordered structures, but is limited to amphiphiles where the carbohydrate is covalently bound to a hydrophobic tail. Here the authors show that sugars direct the self-assembly of insoluble curcumin and the formation of well-defined capsules.

    • Sandy Wong
    • , Jiacheng Zhao
    • , Cheng Cao
    • , Chin Ken Wong
    • , Rhiannon P. Kuchel
    • , Sergio De Luca
    • , James M. Hook
    • , Christopher J. Garvey
    • , Sean Smith
    • , Junming Ho
    •  & Martina H. Stenzel
  • Research | | open

    The structures of fullerenes, or buckyballs, are often very difficult to resolve. Here, the authors describe a decapyrrylcorannulene host with ten flexible pyrryl groups that can efficiently co-crystallize with diverse fullerene derivatives in a ‘hand-ball-hand’ fashion, allowing crystallographic identification of commonly known types of fullerenes.

    • Yun-Yan Xu
    • , Han-Rui Tian
    • , Shu-Hui Li
    • , Zuo-Chang Chen
    • , Yang-Rong Yao
    • , Shan-Shan Wang
    • , Xin Zhang
    • , Zheng-Zhong Zhu
    • , Shun-Liu Deng
    • , Qianyan Zhang
    • , Shangfeng Yang
    • , Su-Yuan Xie
    • , Rong-Bin Huang
    •  & Lan-Sun Zheng

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    Metal–organic frameworks with certain compositions can exist as glasses. Processable materials featuring intrinsic porosity are rare and are expected to be invaluable in chemical separations.

    • Andrew Bissette
  • News and Views |

    Knots have been rigorously studied since the 1860s, but only in the past 30 years have they been made in the laboratory in molecular form. Now, the most complex small-molecule examples so far — a composite knot and an isomeric link, each with nine crossings — have been prepared.

    • Edward E. Fenlon
    Nature Chemistry 10, 1078-1079
  • 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 |

    A phase-separated state is observed with single-stranded DNA composed of ‘polymeric’ blocks and exploited to programme the assembly of micrometre-sized all-DNA colloidal particles.

    • Chad A. Mirkin
    •  & Sarah Hurst Petrosko
    Nature Nanotechnology 13, 624-625
  • News and Views |

    Building spinning microrotors that self-assemble and synchronize to form a gear sounds like an impossible feat. However, it has now been achieved using only a single type of building block — a colloid that self-propels.

    • Peer Fischer
    Nature Physics 14, 1072-1073