Crystal engineering

Crystal engineering is the design of molecular solids with specific physical and chemical properties through an understanding and manipulation of intermolecular interactions. Engineering strategies typically rely on hydrogen bonding and coordination bonds, but can also use other interactions, such as halogen bonds and π–π interactions.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    The rational synthesis of advanced porous materials that mimic the behaviours of biological proteins remains challenging. Now, a distinct type of crystalline porous peptide framework has been prepared through bioinspired noncovalent assembly, enabling chemical tuning of the properties and functions of the pore environments.

    • Jinqiao Dong
    •  & Dan Zhao
    Nature Chemistry 14, 852-854
  • Comments & Opinion |

    The halide perovskite family has, arguably, become today’s most promising emerging materials sets for optoelectronic applications. Here, we discuss the underperformance to date of the colloidal nanocrystal forms of these materials when employed in electroluminescent lighting devices relative to their counterparts, in which the emitter layer is in the form of polycrystalline films. However, we highlight the bright future of halide perovskite colloidal nanocrystals in light-emission technologies such as LCD displays, quantum light sources and even alternative LED configurations, as well as key guidelines for their further development to get there.

    • Javad Shamsi
    • , Gabriele Rainò
    •  & Samuel D. Stranks
    Nature Nanotechnology 16, 1164-1168
  • News & Views |

    Thirty years ago the assembly of molecular ‘tectons’ into organic networks with large chambers using directional non-covalent interactions — hydrogen bonds — provided a blueprint for the synthesis of porous functional materials through crystal engineering.

    • Andrew I. Cooper
    Nature Chemistry 13, 620-621
  • News & Views |

    Molecular decoders are single host matrices able to differentiate analytes by their distinct structural accommodations. Ten years ago, Susumu Kitagawa and co-workers described the prototypical molecular decoder and paved the way for molecular sensing. We now revisit this seminal study and discuss some of the advances that have followed.

    • Soumya Mukherjee
    •  & Sujit K. Ghosh
  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    Polymorphs, crystals with different structure and properties but the same molecular composition, arise from the subtle interplay between thermodynamics and kinetics during crystallisation. In this opinion piece, the authors review the latest developments in the field of polymorphism and discuss standing open questions.

    • Aurora J. Cruz-Cabeza
    • , Neil Feeder
    •  & Roger J. Davey
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Manza B. J. Atkinson talks to Nature Chemistry about his path to become a chemist, and how he applies the scientific method to all aspects of his life — from financial analysis to coaching youth sports teams.

    • Anne Pichon
    Nature Chemistry 12, 881-882