Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Systems chemistry

All in a spin

A fundamental challenge in systems chemistry is to engineer the emergence of complex behaviour. The collective structures of metal cyanide chains have now been interpreted in the same manner as the myriad of magnetic phases displayed by frustrated spin systems, highlighting a symbiotic approach between systems chemistry and magnetism.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Schematic representation of frustrated magnets and the mapping of assemblies of coordination polymer chains in supramolecular systems chemistry.


  1. 1

    Balazs, A. C. & Epstein, I. R. Science 325, 1632–1634 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Rasmussen, S. et al. Science 303, 963–965 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Mattia, E. & Otto, S. Nature Nanotech. 10, 111–119 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Nitschke, J. R. Nature 462, 736–738 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Szostak, J. W., Bartel, D. P. & Luisi, P. L. Nature 409, 387–309 (2001).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Cairns, A. B. et al. Nature Chem. 8, 442–447 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Lee, S.-H. et al. Nature 418, 856–858 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Harris, M. J., Bramwell, S. T., McMorrow, D. F., Zeiske, T. & Godfrey, K. W. Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 2554–2557 (1997).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Mühlbauer, S. et al. Science 323, 915–919 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank the Leverhulme Trust for an award (RPG-2013-343) to support L.C.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Philip Lightfoot.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Clark, L., Lightfoot, P. All in a spin. Nature Chem 8, 402–404 (2016).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing