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  • Author: J. Fraser Stoddart x
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The hurly-burly life of a scientific nomad is traced through thick and thin from the Athens of the North to the City of Angels with brief and not so brief interludes on the edge of the Canadian Shield, in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire, on the Plains of Cheshire beside the Wirral, and in the Midlands in the heartland of Albion.

Abstract

Cyclodextrins (CDs) – a family of cyclic oligosaccharides – are ideal building blocks for the construction of environmentally benign materials. Herein, we reflect upon the serendipitous discovery of two classes of extended crystalline materials – referred to as cyclodextrin metal-organic frameworks (CD-MOFs) and CD-Bamboo – based on CDs which offer opportunities for potential applications in the world of industry and commerce all the way from sequestering carbon dioxide to extracting gold in an eco-friendly manner. The crucial role of serendipity in scientific research expresses itself two times over at the boundaries between coordination chemistry with materials science.

The synthesis of mechanically interlocked molecular compounds has advanced by leaps and bounds since the early days of statistical methods and covalent-directing strategies. Template-directed synthesis has emerged as the method of choice for the construction of increasingly complex and functional [2]catenanes and [2]rotaxanes. In particular, mechanically interlocked molecules employing π-donating and π-accepting recognition units have been produced with remarkable efficiencies and show great promise in technologies as diverse as molecular electronics and drug delivery.

Stereochemistry—in both its static and dynamic variants—has progressed apace now for more than a century to incorporate all aspects of covalent, coordinative, and noncovalent bonding at levels of structure which encompass constitution, configuration, and conformation. The advent of the mechanical bond in more recent times is now providing opportunities for the emergence of new stereochemical tenets and concepts, some of which bear close analogies with those of days gone by in chemistry. Since terminology helps to define and disseminate a discipline, we advocate that the term “mechanostereochemistry” be used to describe the chemistry of molecules with mechanical bonds.