Water in the Voids

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Science  26 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5470, pp. 1301
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5470.1301a

Water frequently plays an important structural role in supramolecular systems, both in solution and in the solid state. For example, water can stabilize the native conformation of biopolymers. In crystals, clusters of several water molecules may fill voids between molecules, thus contributing to the stability of a regular crystal lattice, but the structure of such water clusters is often hard to determine precisely.

Barbour et al. have obtained a high-resolution structure of a cobalt cage complex in which the globular cage assemblies are arranged in a staggered manner. The intervening voids are filled with clusters of ten water molecules that adopt an ice-like conformation. Comparison with the structure of the corresponding copper cage shows that the water cluster is sufficiently flexible to respond to small changes in its environment, but that the overall conformation is robust.—JU

Chem. Commun.2000, 859 (2000).

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