Chemistry

Platonic Solids in All Shapes and Sizes

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1263
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5520.1263b

Synthetic strategies for the self-assembly of discrete high-molecular-weight molecules have yielded regular structures based on Platonic solids, as well as related, less regular structures. A key concept in the assembly of such molecules and of larger porous frameworks is the secondary building unit—for example, a molecular square could be used to assemble larger structures.

Moulton et al. have used such secondary building units to synthesize unusual structures that have both open (concave) and closed (convex) faces. To assemble these molecules successfully requires control over the angle at which the vertices of the square building units bind to each other. These neutral molecular units are chemically robust and likely can be made chemically diverse because many metals, including those that are magnetic or catalytically active, can fit into the square shape. Furthermore, internal and external sites are available for modification, and the internal cavity can host guest molecules. These molecules may have many uses, from the assembly of larger nanostructures to molecular recognition. — JU

Chem. Commun.2001, 863 (2001).

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