Crystal sponge complexes studied through synchrotron radiation. These structures are available as supporting information and have also been deposited in the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) [(1) CCDC 1007931, (2) CCDC 1007929, (3) CCDC 1007930, (4) CCDC 1007932].


A detailed set of synthetic and crystallographic guidelines for the crystalline sponge method based upon the analysis of expediently synthesized crystal sponges using third-generation synchrotron radiation are reported. The procedure for the synthesis of the zinc-based metal–organic framework used in initial crystal sponge reports has been modified to yield competent crystals in 3 days instead of 2 weeks. These crystal sponges were tested on some small molecules, with two being unexpectedly difficult cases for analysis with in-house diffractometers in regard to data quality and proper space-group determination. These issues were easily resolved by the use of synchrotron radiation using data-collection times of less than an hour. One of these guests induced a single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformation to create a larger unit cell with over 500 non-H atoms in the asymmetric unit.This led to a non-trivial refinement scenario that afforded the best Flack x absolute stereochemical determination parameter to date for these systems. The structures did not require the use of PLATON/SQUEEZE or other solvent-masking programs, and are the highest-quality crystalline sponge systems reported to date where the results are strongly supported by the data. A set of guidelines for the entire crystallographic process were developed through these studies. In particular, the refinement guidelines include strategies to refine the host framework, locate guests and determine occupancies, discussion of the proper use of geometric and anisotropic displacement parameter restraints and constraints, and whether to perform solvent squeezing/masking. The single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformation process for the crystal sponges is also discussed. The presented general guidelines will be invaluable for researchers interested in using the crystalline sponge method at in-house diffraction or synchrotron facilities, will facilitate the collection and analysis of reliable high-quality data, and will allow construction of chemically and physically sensible models for guest structural determination.

Timothy R. Ramadhar,a Shao-Liang Zheng,b Yu-Sheng Chenc and Jon Clardya*

aDepartment of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA, bDepartment of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA, and cChemMatCARS, Center for Advanced Radiation Sources, The University of Chicago c/o Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois, 60439, USA
*Correspondence e-mail:



Acta Cryst. (2015). A71, 46–58