Solvation Science alive:


Posted on

Non-statistical assembly of multicomponent cages

Nat.Chem.: Exploring biological structures at the atomic level reveals a fascinating complexity of shapes and functions that form the foundation of all life on earth. While nature has developed intricate networks of interacting molecular structures over billions of years, synthetic chemists face significant challenges in the synthesis of complex molecules.

A promising approach to tackling these challenges is self-assembly – a process where simple building blocks aggregate into larger structures through weak and dynamic interactions. However, the diversity and number of building blocks to be integrated into one object had been severely limited so far, often leading to statistical mixtures of different objects.

The team led by Prof. Clever has now made a significant advancement: The researchers have demonstrated that all four organic building blocks of a nanoscopic cage, held together by two ions of the metal palladium, can be differentiated. Instead of forming a statistical mixture, only a defined product emerges when the building blocks are combined in a polar solvent. This success relies on a combination of several control mechanisms, including shape complementarity between the building blocks and direct interactions within the end product.

The study, published in the prestigious journal "Nature Chemistry," marks a significant progress in the field of supramolecular chemistry. The insights and design principles gained offer valuable perspectives for the development of future applications in areas such as lifelike synthetic systems, selective molecular receptors and catalysts, as well as customized materials for energy conversion and medical diagnostics.

The article has already been highlighted in ChemistryViews, Chem and Nature Research Communities.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Guido Clever

Original Publication: Wu, K., Benchimol, E., Baksi, A., Clever, G.H . Non-statistical assembly of multicomponent [Pd2ABCD] cages. Nat. Chem. (2024).


Leading actor: the solvent

Solvation Science and RESOLV featured in magazine Chemie in unserer Zeit

Learn more