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Professor Jeremy Sanders FRS

We are interested in molecular recognition, aiming to uncover and exploit the rules governing non-covalent interactions. Hydrophobic, π–π, donor–acceptor, metal– ligand and hydrogen bonding interactions are used to create new supramolecular systems that expand our understanding of molecular behaviour and may have useful recognition, catalytic or photophysical properties. In particular in the past few years we have developed the concept of dynamic combinatorial chemistry as a new approach for discovering entirely unexpected structures and assemblies. Over the years our building blocks have included peptides, metalloporphyrins, steroids and simple aromatics, and our products have included macrocycles, rotaxanes, catenanes, molecular knots and supramolecular nanotubes. Some examples are shown below.

Please note that I am not taking any new students or postdocs into my research group.





Selected Publications


Evolution of dynamic combinatorial chemistry, Accounts Chem. Res., (2012), 45, 2211.

Discovery of an organic trefoil knot, Science, (2012), 338, 783.

Templated dynamic synthesis of a [3]Catenane, Angew. Chemie Intl. Edn., (2012), 51, 1443.

Thermodynamics of supramolecular naphthalenediimide nanotubes, J. Am. Chem. Soc., (2012), 134, 566.

Discovery of linear receptors for multiple dihydrogen phosphate ions using dynamic combinatorial chemistry, J. Am. Chem. Soc., (2011), 133, 3804.

Formation pathways of Donor-Acceptor catenanes in aqueous dynamic combinatorial libraries, J. Am. Chem. Soc., (2011), 133, 3198.

Solid-state dynamic combinatorial chemistry, Chem. Sci., (2011), 2, 696.

An unexpected receptor for C70, Angew. Chemie Intl. Edn., (2008), 47, 2689.


Transparency and openness in science
J Sanders, J Blundy, A Donaldson, S Brown, R Ivison, M Padgett, K Padian, K Rittinger, K Rowe, A Stace, E Viding, C Chambers, M Chaplain
– Royal Society Open Science
Solvation and surface effects on polymorph stabilities at the nanoscale
AM Belenguer, GI Lampronti, AJ Cruz-Cabeza, CA Hunter, JKM Sanders
– Chem. Sci.
Cambridge’s global mission: A primary school at the heart.
JKM Sanders, J Nicholls, J Rose
From lanthanide shift reagents to molecular knots: the importance of molecular and mental flexibility.
JKM Sanders
Editorial January 2016
JKM Sanders
– Royal Society open science
Catenation and encapsulation induce distinct reconstitutions within a dynamic library of mixed-ligand Zn<inf>4</inf>L<inf>6</inf> cages
SP Black, DM Wood, FB Schwarz, TK Ronson, JJ Holstein, AR Stefankiewicz, CA Schalley, JKM Sanders, JR Nitschke
– Chem. Sci.
Guest-induced transformation of a porphyrin-edged Fe<sup>II</sup><inf>4</inf>L<inf>6</inf> capsule into a Cu<sup>I</sup>Fe<sup>II</sup><inf>2</inf>L<inf>4</inf> fullerene receptor
DM Wood, W Meng, TK Ronson, AR Stefankiewicz, JKM Sanders, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
Molecular motion of donor-acceptor catenanes in water
FBL Cougnon, N Ponnuswamy, GD Pantoş, JKM Sanders
– Org Biomol Chem
Guest-Induced Transformation of a Porphyrin-Edged Fe II 4 L 6 Capsule into a Cu I Fe II 2 L 4 Fullerene Receptor
DM Wood, W Meng, TK Ronson, AR Stefankiewicz, JKM Sanders, JR Nitschke
– Angew Chem Int Ed Engl
Direct Observation of Intermediates in a Thermodynamically Controlled Solid-State Dynamic Covalent Reaction
AM Belenguer, GI Lampronti, DJ Wales, JKM Sanders
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336411

Email address