Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine

Hong Ying Zang, Andreu Ruiz De La Oliva, Haralampos N. Miras, De Liang Long, Roy T. McBurney, Leroy Cronin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical "real-space" search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo2O2S2]2+-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo10(C5)}; 2, {Mo 14(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo60(C4)10}; 4, {Mo48(C 4)6}; 5, {Mo34(C4)4}; 6, {Mo18(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3715
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

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