Scientists from University of Akron created the largest molecular spheres (a cuboctahedron) that were unequivocally characterized by synchrotron X-ray analysis performed at ChemMatCARS Advanced Crystallography facility.



Inspiration for molecular design and construction can be derived from mathematically based structures. In the quest for new materials, the adaptation of new building blocks can lead to unexpected results. Towards these ends, the quantitative single-step self-assembly of a shape-persistent, Archimedean-based building block, which generates the largest molecular sphere (a cuboctahedron) that has been unequivocally characterized by synchrotron X-ray analysis, is described. The unique properties of this new construct give rise to a dilution-based transformation into two identical spheres (octahedra) each possessing one half of the molecular weight of the parent structure; concentration of this octahedron reconstitutes the original cuboctahedron. These chemical phenomena are reminiscent of biological fission and fusion processes. The large 6 nm cage structure was further analyzed by 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and collision cross-section analysis. New routes to molecular encapsulation can be envisioned.


Angew. Chem., 201554 (32), pp 9224–9229

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201503609

  1. Dr. Ting-Zheng Xie1,
  2. Dr. Kai Guo1,
  3. Zaihong Guo1,
  4. Wen-Yang Gao3,
  5. Dr. Lukasz Wojtas3,
  6. Dr. Guo-Hong Ning4,
  7. Mingjun Huang1,
  8. Dr. Xiaocun Lu1,
  9. Jing-Yi Li1,
  10. Dr. Sheng-Yun Liao6,
  11. Dr. Yu-Sheng Chen2,
  12. Dr. Charles N. Moorefield1,
  13. Dr. Mary Jane Saunders5,
  14. Prof. Stephen Z. D. Cheng1,
  15. Prof. Chrys Wesdemiotis1,*and
  16. Prof. George R. Newkome1,*

Author Information

  1. Department of Polymer Science, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44256 (USA)
  2. ChemMatCARS, The University of Chicago, Argonne, IL 60439 (USA)
  3. Department of Chemistry, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, CHE205, Tampa, FL 33620 (USA)
  4. Department of Applied Chemistry, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo (Japan)
  5. Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (USA)