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
    | Open Access

    Encapsulating large and contorted nanographenes inside artificial receptors remain challenging. This work reports the synthesis, characterization and binding properties of a trigonal prismatic cage compound that can serve as a receptor for contorted nanographene derivatives.

    • Huang Wu
    • , Yu Wang
    •  & J. Fraser Stoddart
  • Research |

    Tailoring the size and connectivity of organic nanostructures is challenging, but is often key in molecular electronics for tuning the properties of quantum materials. Now an approach has been developed for building low-dimensional covalent architectures block-by-block on a surface by highly selective tip-induced intermolecular reactions.

    • Hendrik V. Schröder
    • , Yi Zhang
    •  & A. James Link
    Nature Chemistry 13, 850-857
  • 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

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    Although the natural lasso peptide microcin J25 remains an elusive target for total chemical synthesis itself, this topologically non-trivial building block has now been used to construct a range of interlocked molecular architectures including rotaxanes, catenanes and daisy chains.

    • Jan H. van Maarseveen
    Nature Chemistry 13, 822-823
  • News & Views |

    A new class of interwoven metal–organic containers, including one with a cubic architecture, twelve crossing points and a large internal volume, has now been reported. Interconversion between different self-assembled structures can be triggered by simply exchanging the associated anions.

    • Andrew W. Heard
    • , Natasha M. A. Speakman
    •  & Jonathan R. Nitschke
    Nature Chemistry 13, 824-826
  • 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