Self-Assembly of a Chiral Cubic Three-Connected Net from the High Symmetry Molecules C60 and SnI4

2020-06-01T10:52:42Z (GMT) by Daniel B. Straus Robert J. Cava
The design of new chiral materials usually requires stereoselective organic synthesis to create molecules with chiral centers. Less commonly, achiral molecules can self-assemble into chiral materials, despite the absence of intrinsic molecular chirality. Here, we demonstrate the assembly of high-symmetry molecules into a chiral van der Waals structure by synthesizing crystals of C60(SnI4)2 from icosahedral buckminsterfullerene (C60) and tetrahedral SnI4 molecules through spontaneous self-assembly. The SnI4 tetrahedra template the Sn atoms into a chiral cubic three-connected net of the SrSi2 type that is held together by van der Waals forces. Our results represent the remarkable emergence of a self-assembled chiral material from two of the most highly symmetric molecules, demonstrating that almost any molecular, nanocrystalline, or engineered precursor can be considered when designing chiral assemblies.