Interlocked molecules

Interlocked molecules are molecular architectures formed from two or more components that are linked together mechanically; the entangled components are not connected through covalent bonds but cannot be separated without breaking a covalent bond. Examples of interlocked molecules include catenanes and rotaxanes.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A molecular-scale pump whose operation is driven by a catalytic process when in the presence of chemical fuel is autonomous, within an operating window, as long as the fuel lasts.

    • Shuntaro Amano
    • , Stephen D. P. Fielden
    •  & David A. Leigh
    Nature 594, 529-534
  • Reviews |

    Radical-pairing interactions were, until recently, considered something of a chemical curiosity. But these weak interactions, on par with hydrogen bonds, are easily switched on and off and, as a result, have become widely exploited in supramolecular chemistry, particularly in the assembly of out-of-equilibrium structures.

    • Kang Cai
    • , Long Zhang
    •  & J. Fraser Stoddart
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Communication of chirality at a molecular level is the fundamental for transmitting chirality information but one-step communication modes in many artificial systems limits further processing the chirality information. Here, the authors report chirality communication of aromatic oligoamide sequences within interpenetrated helicate architecture in a hierarchical manner.

    • Jiajia Zhang
    • , Dan Luo
    •  & Quan Gan
  • Reviews |

    Single-supermolecule electronics focuses not only on charge transport within individual supermolecules but also on the weak non-covalent interactions between components of supermolecules and mechanically interlocked molecules. This Review surveys the use of non-covalent interactions in the construction of electronic devices.

    • Hongliang Chen
    •  & J. Fraser Stoddart
  • Research
    | Open Access

    DNA templating is a useful strategy to control the positioning and aggregation of molecular dyes on a sub-nanometer scale, but sub-angstrom control is desirable for the precise tailoring of excitonic properties. Here, the authors show that templating squaraine dyes functionalized with rotaxane rings promotes an elusive oblique packing arrangement and extended excited-state lifetimes.

    • Matthew S. Barclay
    • , Simon K. Roy
    •  & Ryan D. Pensack

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    The synthesis of molecular knots has been a major achievement in the field of chemical topology, but only a few relatively simple ones have been made so far. A route based on a weaving approach has now been used to make a seven-crossing knot and could offer a route to more complicated structures.

    • Dan Preston
    •  & Paul E. Kruger
    Nature Chemistry 13, 114-116
  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    Molecular knots are evolving from academic curiosities to a practically useful class of mechanically interlocked molecules, capable of performing unique tasks at the nanoscale. In this comment, the author discusses the properties of molecular knots, and highlights future challenges for chemical topology.

    • Fredrik Schaufelberger
  • News & Views |

    Interlocked molecules can exhibit chiral stereogenic elements that are not found in covalently bound systems. Now, the shuttling of the ring in a [2]rotaxane has been shown to result in enantiomeric co-conformations that selectively bind chiral guests.

    • Ellen M. G. Jamieson
    •  & Stephen M. Goldup
    Nature Chemistry 11, 765-767
  • News & 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 & Views |

    Both the topology and the mechanical strength of woven materials have inspired great synthetic efforts to replicate their structures at the nanoscale. Now, a triaxial weave has been prepared by self-assembly of a judiciously designed organic molecule through π–π and CH–π interactions.

    • Yi Liu
    Nature Chemistry 9, 1037-1038