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Department of Chemistry

 
Portrait of jrn34

What we do...

We are designing hollow supramolecular capsules or ‘cages’, which can be used to transport cargoes of molecules where we need them. These cages could be used to safely deliver drug therapies, reduce the costs and environmental effects of petroleum refining, and in many other areas. 

Figuring out the rules

We are interested in discovering and developing new ways in which simple building blocks may be induced to self-assemble into complex, functional structures. Our investigations currently focus upon the self-assembly of imine bonds around metal-ion templates, bringing both covalent C=N and coordinative N→Metal bonds into being during the same overall self-assembly process. The structures thus created can rearrange in well-defined ways at both covalent and coordinative linkages. Ongoing projects include:

 

Container Molecules. The diamine and aldehyde shown above self-assemble with iron(II) in water to form a tetrahedral cage. This cage traps guest molecules within its cavity with high selectivity. The cage may be opened and the guest released using different triggers, one of which is a drop in pH. Applications in drug delivery are of interest, as are investigations of changes in the reactivity and behaviour of guest molecules upon encapsulation.

 

Functional Materials. We have recently developed means to create metal-containing conjugated polymers through self-assembly. DFT calculations carried out by Laura Gagliardi and Christopher Cramer suggest that these might conduct electricity. Studies are thus being undertaken to investigate their properties.

Selected Publications

Feature Article: “Metal-organic container molecules through subcomponent self-assembly”, T.K. Ronson, S. Zarra, S.P. Black, J.R. Nitschke, Chem. Commun. 2013, 49, 2476-2490.

“Enantiopure Water-Soluble Fe4L6 Cages: Host-Guest Chemistry and Catalytic Activity”, Jeanne L. Bolliger, Ana M. Belenguer, and Jonathan R. Nitschke, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 7958-7962.

“Aqueous Self-assembly of an Electroluminescent Double-helical Metallo-polymer”, X. de Hatten,  D. Asil, R.H. Friend, J.R. Nitschke,  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 135, 19170-19178.

“Anion-induced Reconstitution of a Self-assembling System to Express a Chloride-binding Co10L15 Pentagonal Prism”, I.A. Riddell, M.M.J. Smulders, J.K. Clegg, Y.R. Hristova, B. Breiner, J.D. Thoburn, J.R. Nitschke, Nature Chem. 2012, 51, 751-756.

 “White phosphorus is air-stable within a self-assembled tetrahedral capsule” P. Mal, B. Breiner, K. Rissanen and J.R. Nitschke, Science 2009, 324, 1697-1699.

“Systems chemistry: Molecular networks come of age” J.R. Nitschke, Nature 2009, 462, 736-738.

Publications

Guest Binding Drives Host Redistribution in Libraries of CoII4L4 Cages
M Kieffer, RA Bilbeisi, JD Thoburn, JK Clegg, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie
(2020)
132,
11465
An S-10-Symmetric 5-Fold Interlocked [2]Catenane
TK Ronson, Y Wang, K Baldridge, JS Siegel, JR Nitschke
– J Am Chem Soc
(2020)
142,
10267
Transformation Network Culminating in a Heteroleptic Cd6L6L′2 Twisted Trigonal Prism
D Zhang, TK Ronson, L Xu, JR Nitschke
– J Am Chem Soc
(2020)
142,
9152
Guest Binding Drives Host Redistribution in Libraries of Co(4)(II)L(4)Cages
M Kieffer, RA Bilbeisi, JD Thoburn, JK Clegg, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
(2020)
59,
11369
Improved Acid Resistance of a Metal–Organic Cage Enables Cargo Release and Exchange between Hosts
L Xu, D Zhang, TK Ronson, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie
(2020)
132,
7505
Hydrolysis of Twisted Amides inside a Self-Assembled Coordination Cage
YQ Zou, I Jahović, JR Nitschke
– Chem
(2020)
6,
1217
Narcissistic, Integrative, and Kinetic Self-Sorting within a System of Coordination Cages.
FJ Rizzuto, JR Nitschke
– J Am Chem Soc
(2020)
142,
7749
Heat Engine Drives Transport of an (Fe4L4)-L-II Cage and Cargo
B-NT Nguyen, AB Grommet, A Tron, MCA Georges, JR Nitschke
– Adv Mater
(2020)
32,
e1907241
Improved Acid Resistance of a Metal–Organic Cage Enables Cargo Release and Exchange between Hosts
L Xu, D Zhang, TK Ronson, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
(2020)
59,
7435
Coordination cages as permanently porous ionic liquids.
L Ma, CJE Haynes, AB Grommet, A Walczak, CC Parkins, CM Doherty, L Longley, A Tron, AR Stefankiewicz, TD Bennett, JR Nitschke
– Nature chemistry
(2020)
12,
270
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336324

Email address

jrn34@cam.ac.uk