Construction of assemblies from a pool of building block through “order-out-of-chaos” approaches is emerging as one of the ultimate goals of synthetic supramolecular chemistry in pursuing a higher level of precision and complexity. The dynamic nature of the intermolecular non-covalent interactions is the fundamental of well-controlled self-assembly, however, it brings traditional supramolecules insufficient stability for further structural design and functional investigations. We propose that the conversion of the non-covalent interaction feature from dynamic to static under mild conditions would solve the problem, and help to pave a new avenue in the field of supramolecular chemistry. With the goal of regulating interaction features, our research mainly focuses on the following aspects based on our research experiences in coordination-driven self-assembly.
(1) We aim to self-assemble 2D and 3D metallo-supramolecules with structural precision and high stability based on terpyridine analogues. These terpyridine analogues have reversible coordination with metal ions under neutral conditions, while the interaction turns to static and ultra-stable under basic conditions to concrete the structural frameworks.
(2) Based on the conversion of terpyridine analogues-metal ions complexation from dynamic to static, we aim to develop new self-assembly approaches through adding up traditional coordination-driven self-assembly and/or in-situ organic reactions. The new self-assembly approaches are expected to further advance the construction of complex structures and the exploration of functions.
(3) Beyond self-assembly, we are exploring these assemblies in diverse application fields, including catalysis, photoelectronic devices, quantum devices and biomedicine. These advanced functions will take full advantages of the dynamic-static transition brought about by the terpyridine analogues-metal ions complexation, as well as the charge states and redox states transitions, magnetic property regulations, and host-guest interactions.