Guest exchange through single crystal-single crystal transformations in a flexible hydrogen-bonded framework

Wenchang Xiao, Chunhua Hu, Michael D. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A molecular framework based on guanidinium cations and 1,2,4,5-tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)benzene (TSPB), an aromatic tetrasulfonate with nominal 2-fold and mirror symmetry, exhibits three crystallographically unique one-dimensional channels as a consequence of molecular symmetry and complementary hydrogen bonding between the guanidinium (G) ions and the sulfonate (S) groups of TSPB. Unlike previous GS frameworks, this new topology is sufficiently flexible to permit reversible release and adsorption of guest molecules in large single crystals through a cyclic shrinkage and expansion of the channels with retention of single crystallinity, as verified by single crystal X-ray diffraction. Moreover, the G4TSPB framework permits guest exchange between various guest molecules through SCSCTs as well as exchange discrimination based on the size and character of the three different channels. The exchange of guest molecules during single crystal-single crystal transformations (SCSCT), a rare occurrence for hydrogen-bonded frameworks, is rather fast, with diffusivities of approximately 10-6 cm2 s-1. Rapid diffusion in the two channels having cross sections sufficient to accommodate two guest molecules can be explained by two-way or ring diffusion, most likely vacancy assisted. Surprisingly, rapid guest exchange also is observed in a smaller channel having a cross-section that accommodates only one guest molecule, which can only be explained by guest-assisted single-file unidirectional diffusion. Several single crystals of inclusion compounds can be realized only through guest exchange in the intact framework, suggesting an approach to the synthesis of single crystalline inclusion compounds that otherwise cannot be attained through direct crystallization methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14200-14206
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 8 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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