Formation of polyrotaxane crystals driven by dative boron–nitrogen bonds

Xuedong Xiao, Ding Xiao, Guan Sheng, Tianyu Shan, Jiao Wang, Xiaohe Miao, Yikuan Liu, Guangfeng Li, Yihan Zhu, Jonathan L. Sessler, Feihe Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The integration of mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) into purely organic crystalline materials is expected to produce materials with properties that are not accessible using more classic approaches. To date, this integration has proved elusive. We present a dative boron–nitrogen bond-driven self-assembly strategy that allows for the preparation of polyrotaxane crystals. The polyrotaxane nature of the crystalline material was confirmed by both single-crystal x-ray diffraction analysis and cryogenic high-resolution low-dose transmission electron microscopy. Enhanced softness and greater elasticity are seen for the polyrotaxane crystals than for nonrotaxane polymer controls. This finding is rationalized in terms of the synergetic microscopic motion of the rotaxane subunits. The present work thus highlights the benefits of integrating MIMs into crystalline materials.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 5 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-07-10
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2019-CRG8-4032
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2021YFA0910100 and 2022YFE0113800), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22035006, 22122505, 22075250, 22205200, and 21771161), the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (LD21B020001), the Starry Night Science Fund of Zhejiang University Shanghai Institute for Advanced Study (SN-ZJU-SIAS-006), and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Office of Sponsored Research (OSR-2019-CRG8-4032). The work in Austin was supported by the Robert A. Welch Foundation (F-0018). We thank Q. He from the Chemistry Instrumentation Center, Zhejiang University for the technical support.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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