A nanometre-sized hexahedral coordination capsule assembled from 24 components

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Abstract

Molecular capsules consist of closed, hollow frameworks within which encapsulated molecules are isolated from interaction with external molecules [1].In this environment, otherwise reactive molecules can be stabilized [2-5]. Although some molecular capsules have been prepared by conventional synthetic chemistry [1], recent progress in non-covalent synthesis has allowed the creation of capsules held together by hydrogen bonds [6-9]. Here we report the use of transition-metal-based coordination chemistry [10-19] to assemble a stable, nanometre-scale capsule from 24 small components: 18 metal ions and six triangular ligands. The capsule is roughly hexahedral and comprises six edge-sharing triangles with two metal ions on each edge. The internal space has a volume of 900 Angstrom [3] and is fully closed to all but very small molecules.

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