Key publications

M. Morshedi, M. Thomas, A. Tarzia, C. J. Doonan, N. G. White*
Supramolecular anion recognition in water: synthesis of hydrogen-bonded supramolecular frameworks
Chemical Science, 2017, 8, 3019–3025
DOI: 10.1039/C7SC00201G


The first “big” paper from the group demonstrates that anions can be used to form 3D supramolecular framework materials. Surprisingly, these frameworks can be formed in water (despite the fact that host…anion interactions are typically weak in this solvent). The frameworks can be dis-assembled and re-assembled in response to acid, and neutralisation, respectively. Furthermore, two forms of the framework can be accessed, and we are able to switch between the two in response to various stimuli.

N. G. White, M. J. MacLachlan*
Anion-templated hexagonal nanotubes
Chemical Science, 2015, 6, 6245–6249
DOI: 10.1039/C5SC02577J


This work demonstrated that relatively weak hydrogen bonds between alcohol donors and bromide anions could be used to assemble three-dimensional nanotube structures. These nanotubes show surprising stability and can withstand prolonged exposure to heat, water or vacuum. The use of anions to template interesting and complex materials is a key feature of our work in the group.

S. W. Robinson, C. L. Mustoe, N. G. White, A. Brown,
A. L. Thompson, P. Kennepohl,* P. D. Beer*
Evidence for halogen bond covalency in acyclic and interlocked halogen bonding receptor anion recognition
Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015137, 499–507
DOI: 10.1021/ja511648d


In this paper, we prepared halogen bonding catenanes that selectively bind halide anions in aqueous solvent mixtures.  Importantly, we showed (using X-ray absorption spectroscopy) that there is a significant covalent contribution to the halogen bond.  The magnitude of this covalent contribution is similar to that observed in transition metal–ligand coordination bonds.