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The Crystalline Sponge Method in Water

revised on 03.07.2019, 09:18 and posted on 03.07.2019, 19:24 by Wester de Poel, Paul Tinnemans, Alexander L. L. Duchateau, Maarten Honing, Floris P. J. T. Rutjes, Elias Vlieg, Rene de Gelder
The crystalline sponge method entails the elucidation of the (absolute) structure of molecules from a solution phase using single-crystal X-ray diffraction and eliminates the need for crystals of the target compound. An important limitation for the application of the crystalline sponge method is the instability of the available crystalline sponges that can act as host crystals. The host crystal that is most often used decomposes in protic or nucleophilic solvents or when guest molecules with Lewis basic substituents are introduced. Here we disclose a new class of (water) stable host crystals based on f-block metals. We show that these hosts not only increase the scope of the crystalline sponge method to a wider array of solvents and guests, but that they can even be applied to aqueous solutions containing hydrophilic guest molecules, thereby extending the crystalline sponge method to the important field of water-based chemistry.


NWO New Chemical Innovations Fund, DSM Food Specialties, and DSM Resolve.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Radboud University, Nijmegen


The Netherlands

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest


Read the published paper

in Chemistry – A European Journal