Complex Architectures and Topology
We have a keen interest in the formation of novel metal-organic architectures, particularly those with complex structures, which can allow a greater understanding of subcomponent self-assembly processes to be gained. The design principles developed from these studies provide a foundation for the design of metal-organic species to be used in more application-driven research such as phase transfer, host-guest chemistry and materials projects.
Systems Chemistry and Chemistry Between Phases
Systems chemistry deals with complex chemical systems that show properties that are not predictable solely from the individual components of the system. Our group has demonstrated functional out-of-equilibrium systems by developing a method by which a cage can reversibly rearrange during a time period when an added chemical “fuel” undergoes catalytic “burning.” Similarly, post-assembly modification cascade of a set of cages has led to their partitioning across phase boundaries. A triphasic sorting system has been developed in which three cages partitioned into three distinct solvent layers.
Metallopolymers and Materials
The metal-organic coordination motif can also be used in the design and synthesis of novel materials. We have demonstrated the formation of Cu(I)-containing helical metallopolymers with controllable length, regiochemistry, and luminescence. We have also used our metal-organic cages in the formation of gels and permanently porous liquids.
Metal-organic capsules often possess well-defined inner void spaces, within which the chemical reactivity and dynamics of guest molecules may be altered. We have used the selective guest encapsulation properties of these structures to trap and stabilize unstable species, separate substrates as diverse as gases and fullerenes, and as catalysts and sensors. In order to extend the range of applications of this class of synthetic receptors we have designed hosts that are capable of tightly and selectively binding large substrates and biologically relevant molecules.