The nature of the elements and functional groups determine the functionality of a molecular compound. In extended molecular systems molecular units are linked together in such a way that allows constructive interplay between the molecular moieties. The intermolecular interactions open up new possibilities for tailoring the properties of molecular materials. Interactions between molecules can enhance functionalities of the molecular building blocks or they can generate completely new properties such as conductivity, magnetic behavior, photophysical behavior, or catalytic activity. In other words, molecular assemblies can have properties of their own, properties that that do not exist in molecular compounds.

The goal of EMS group is to build new functional materials by using molecular compounds, metal complexes and organic molecules, as building blocks. The molecular building blocks can be linked together either by covalent bonds or by non-covalent interactions. The key requirements for the non-covalent interactions are that they must be strong enough (the interaction energy should be in the order of hydrogen bonds) and they must have clear directional preference. The latter requirement is essential in order to obtain predictable structures. Several non-covalent interactions fulfill, at least at some extent, these requirements including:

  • Hydrogen bonds
  • Halogen bonds
  • Metallophilic interactions
  • π-interactions
  • C-H-metal interactions

The most important functionalities we are interested in are:

  • Photophysical properties (absorption, emission)
  • Conductivity/photoconductivity
  • Catalytic properties
  • Optical properties (especially NLO properties).

All of these properties are influenced by the arrangement of the building blocks. For example, conductive crystalline material can be obtained by linking square planar metal complexes into 1D chains through metallophilic contacts. Similarly, new optical properties can be achieved by arranging polarizable molecules into non-centrosymmetrical arrays.

Building functional materials from molecular building blocks is an extension to molecular design and can provide new tools for materials chemistry.

Our goal is to synthesize new active materials ranging from molecular species to gels and 3D-printable polymers.