Chiral expression from molecular to macroscopic level via pH modulation in terbium coordination polymers

J Huang and HM Ding and Y Xu and D Zeng and H Zhu and DM Zang and SS Bao and YQ Ma and LM Zheng, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8, 2131 (2017).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02260-2

Chiral expression from the molecular to macroscopic level is common in biological systems, but is difficult to realise for coordination polymers (CPs). The assembly of homochiral CPs in both crystalline and helical forms can provide a bridge for understanding the relationship between the molecular and macroscopic scales of chirality. Herein, we report homochiral helices of Tb(R- or S-pempH)(3)center dot 2H(2)O (R- or S-1) (pemp H-2 = (1-phenylethylamino) methylphosphonic acid) and their crystalline counterparts (R- or S-3), which are formed at different pH of the reaction mixtures under hydrothermal conditions. By combining the experiments and molecular simulations, we propose that the formation of helices of R-1 or S-1 occurs via a hierarchical self- assembly route, which involves twisted packing due to the geometric incompatibility of the different types of chains. The observed chiral transcription from molecules to morphologies is significant for understanding bio-related self-assembly processes on the nano-to macro- scale.

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