The quest for technologically useful materials with nanometer-sized
features increasingly relies on synthetic innovations to assemble
complex supramolecules. The difficulty in creating intricate structures
from smaller molecular building blocks is organizing the pieces
in specific pre-designed ways. The difficulty increases with complexity,
but so do the rewards. Just as the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary
elements of structure endow enzymes with enhanced functionality,
so development of nanotechnology aims to harness the efficacy beyond
the limits of primary covalent interactions. This area of research
has recently spawned applications in catalysis, ion exchange, host-guest
interactions, molecular magnets, nanoelectronics, and nanomachines.
We build supramolecules by linking inorganic units (atoms or clusters)
with organic ligands. We are working to design, synthesize, and
characterize coordination networks of arbitrary size, shape, and
symmetry by exploiting mathematical constraints and chemical control.
Besides encouraging undergraduate students to invent and execute
rational synthetic schemes, this interdisciplinary research aims
to advance the limits of self-assembly molecular processes. more...