Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Zaworotko, Michael J.


Crystal engineering, Coordination polymers, Supramolecular chemistry, Topology, Structure-function


This work endeavors to delineate modern paradigms for crystal engineering, i.e. the design and supramolecular synthesis of functional molecular materials. Paradigms predicated on an understanding of the geometry of polygons and polyhedra are developed. The primary focus is on structural determination by single crystal x-ray crystallography, structural interpretation using a suite of graphical visualization and molecular modeling software, and on the importance of proper graphical representation in the presentation and explanation of crystal structures. A detailed analysis of a selected series of crystal structures is presented. The reduction of these molecular networks to schematic representations that illustrate their fundamental connectivity facilitates the understanding of otherwise complex supramolecular solids.

Circuit symbols and Schlafli notation are used to describe the network topologies, which enables networks of different composition and metrics to be easily compared. This reveals that molecular orientations in the crystals and networks are commensurate with networks that can be derived from spherical close packed lattices. The development of a logical design strategy for a new class of materials based on our understanding of the chemical composition and topology of these networks is described. The synthesis and crystal structure of a series of new materials generated by exploitation of this design strategy is presented, in addition to a detailed analysis of the topology of these materials and their relationship to a parent structure. In summary, this dissertation demonstrates that molecular polygons can self-assemble at their vertexes to produce molecular architectures and crystal structures that are consistent with long established geometric dogma. The design strategy represents a potentially broad ranging approach to the design of nanoporous structures from a wide range of chemical components that are based on molecular shape rather than chemical formula. In effect, this work represents another example of the molecular meccano approach to self-assembled structures. Most importantly, given that these materials are designed from first principles, they offer materials scientists the ability to control the chemical nature of the constituent components and therefore influence the bulk physical properties of materials.