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A homochiral metal–organic porous material for enantioselective separation and catalysis


Inorganic zeolites are used for many practical applications that exploit the microporosity intrinsic to their crystal structures. Organic analogues, which are assembled from modular organic building blocks linked through non-covalent interactions, are of interest for similar applications. These range from catalysis, separation and sensor technology to optoelectronics1,2,3, with enantioselective separation and catalysis being especially important for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The modular construction of these analogues allows flexible and rational design, as both the architecture and chemical functionality of the micropores can, in principle, be precisely controlled. Porous organic solids with large voids and high framework stability have been produced14,15, and investigations into the range of accessible pore functionalities have been initiated7,11,12,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23. For example, catalytically active organic zeolite analogues are known13,22,23, as are chiral metal–organic open-framework materials. However, the latter are only available as racemic mixtures24,25, or lack the degree of framework stability or void space that is required for practical applications26,27. Here we report the synthesis of a homochiral metal–organic porous material that allows the enantioselective inclusion of metal complexes in its pores and catalyses a transesterification reaction in an enantioselective manner. Our synthesis strategy, which uses enantiopure metal–organic clusters as secondary building blocks14, should be readily applicable to chemically modified cluster components and thus provide access to a wide range of porous organic materials suitable for enantioselective separation and catalysis.

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Figure 1
Figure 2: Structure of the trinuclear secondary building unit.
Figure 3: The hexagonal framework with large pores that is formed with the trinuclear secondary building units.
Figure 4: View down the c axis showing large chiral channels of POST-1.
Figure 5: Catalytic activity of POST-1 in transesterification reactions.


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We thank the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology (Creative Research Initiatives Program) for supporting this work and the Korean Ministry of Education (Brain Korea 21 program) for graduate student fellowships (J.O. and Y.J.J.). We also thank M. G. Finn and L. K. Woo for critical reading of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kimoon Kim.

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Seo, J., Whang, D., Lee, H. et al. A homochiral metal–organic porous material for enantioselective separation and catalysis. Nature 404, 982–986 (2000).

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