Supramolecular chemistry articles from across Nature Portfolio

Supramolecular chemistry is the study of entities of greater complexity than individual molecules — assemblies of molecules that bond and organize through intermolecular interactions. The design and synthesis of supramolecular systems invokes interactions beyond the covalent bond, using, for example, hydrogen bonding, metal coordination and π interactions to bring discrete building blocks together.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Quasicrystals are intriguing structures that exhibit long-range positional correlations but no periodicity in real space. Now, T-shaped amphiphilic molecules featuring rigid cores have been found to self-assemble into a columnar liquid quasicrystal with dodecagonal symmetry. The honeycomb structure observed arises from a strictly quasiperiodic tessellation of square, triangular and trapezoidal tiles, rather than from random tiling.

    • Xiangbing Zeng
    • , Benjamin Glettner
    •  & Carsten Tschierske
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Stereogenic sp3-hybridized carbon centres are the principal building blocks of chiral organic molecules. Usually, these centres are configurationally fixed. Now, low-energy pericyclic rearrangements have been used to create rigid cage molecules with fluxional sp3-stereochemistry, influencing chiral information transfer. The sp3-carbon stereochemistry of the cages is inverted through strain-assisted Cope rearrangements.

    • Aisha N. Bismillah
    • , Toby G. Johnson
    •  & Paul R. McGonigal
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Eco-friendly, efficient, and selective gold recovery technologies are urgently desired to satisfy the increasing demand for gold. Here, the authors report one such technology based on the supramolecular polymerization of second-sphere coordinated adducts formed between β-cyclodextrin and tetrabromoaurate anions.

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

    Amorphous coordination polymers and metal–organic frameworks can be directly synthesized under mild conditions using a broader range of metals and ligands than their crystalline and crystal-derived counterparts and therefore exhibit different physicochemical properties. This Review discusses the direct synthesis of amorphous coordination polymers, as well as their characterization, properties and applications.

    • Zhixing Lin
    • , Joseph J. Richardson
    •  & Frank Caruso

News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion |

    Rahul Dev Mukhopadhyay and Kimoon Kim consider how cucurbiturils — pumpkin-shaped macrocycles — went from curiosities to compelling cavitands for a host of applications.

    • Rahul Dev Mukhopadhyay
    •  & Kimoon Kim
  • News & Views |

    Organolithium reagents are characterized by their high reactivity towards air and moisture, traditionally requiring strict inert conditions for their handling and utilization. Now, these reagents can be encapsulated within an organogel, enhancing their stability and allowing their use and storage under ambient conditions.

    • Andreu Tortajada
    •  & Eva Hevia
    Nature Chemistry 15, 299-300
  • News & Views |

    Discrete chiral nanotubes have been synthesized with high efficiency by connecting rim-desymmetrized macrocycles through dynamic covalent linkages. These 2-nm long and 4.7-Å wide helical covalent organic pillars, resolved by chromatography and characterized by X-ray crystallography, show strong binding affinities for linear guest molecules with complementary lengths and electronic densities.

  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) underlies the formation of intracellular membraneless compartments in biology and may have played a role in the formation of protocells that concentrate key chemicals during the origins of life. While LLPS of simple systems, such as oil and water, is well understood, many aspects of LLPS in complex, out-of-equilibrium molecular systems remain elusive. Here, the author discusses open questions and recent insights related to the formation, function and fate of such condensates both in cell biology and protocell research.

    • Evan Spruijt
  • News & Views |

    Catalytic templates produce oligomers of a defined length, moving beyond stoichiometric ratios of template to substrate. Bifunctional catalytic macrocycles with a defined cavity have a high affinity for the monomer but not the oligomer, enabling high-turnover oligomer synthesis.

    • Calum T. J. Ferguson
    •  & Rachel K. O’Reilly
  • News & Views |

    Interlocking macrocyclic carbon nanomaterials is an exciting way to tune their molecular properties, but all-conjugated catenanes and rotaxanes are extremely challenging to make. Now, fully π-conjugated [2]- and [3]catenanes as well as a [3]rotaxane have been prepared through an ‘active metal template’ approach.

    • Satyajit Das
    •  & Fredrik Schaufelberger
    Nature Chemistry 15, 160-162