Supramolecular Self-Sorting Networks using Hydrogen-Bonding Motifs

Heather M. Coubrough, Stephanie C.C. van der Lubbe, Kristina Hetherington, Aisling Minard, Christopher Pask, Mark J. Howard, Célia Fonseca Guerra*, Andrew J. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A current objective in supramolecular chemistry is to mimic the transitions between complex self-sorted systems that represent a hallmark of regulatory function in nature. In this work, a self-sorting network, comprising linear hydrogen motifs, was created. Selecting six hydrogen-bonding motifs capable of both high-fidelity and promiscuous molecular recognition gave rise to a complex self-sorting system, which included motifs capable of both narcissistic and social self-sorting. Examination of the interactions between individual components, experimentally and computationally, provided a rationale for the product distribution during each phase of a cascade. This reasoning holds through up to five sequential additions of six building blocks, resulting in the construction of a biomimetic network in which the presence or absence of different components provides multiple unique pathways to distinct self-sorted configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-795
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number3
Early online date31 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019


  • biomimetic chemistry
  • hydrogen bonding
  • molecular recognition
  • self-sorting
  • supramolecular chemistry


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