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Department of Chemistry


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. Very recently, while investigating dynamic chemistry in the solid state using ball mill grinding, we have discovered solvent and surface effects on polymorph stability in nanocrystals

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.


Selective C
G Markiewicz, A Jenczak, M Kołodziejski, JJ Holstein, JKM Sanders, AR Stefankiewicz
– Nature communications
Dudley Howard Williams. 25 May 1937 — 3 November 2010
JKM Sanders, DCV Robinson
– Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society
Reviewers in 2016.
JKM Sanders
– Royal Society open science
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
– Chemical science
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
– R Soc Open Sci
Catenation and encapsulation induce distinct reconstitutions within a dynamic library of mixed-ligand Zn4L6 cages
SP Black, DM Wood, FB Schwarz, TK Ronson, JJ Holstein, AR Stefankiewicz, CA Schalley, JKM Sanders, JR Nitschke
– Chemical Science
Guest-induced transformation of a porphyrin-edged FeII4L6 capsule into a CuIFeII2L4 fullerene receptor
DM Wood, W Meng, TK Ronson, AR Stefankiewicz, JKM Sanders, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
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Telephone number

01223 336411

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