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Clip-off Chemistry: Design and Synthesis of New Materials via Programmable Disassembly of Reticular Materials

Project description

A novel approach turns synthetic chemistry on its head

Manufacturing conventions have been turned upside down – literally – over the last few decades with a shift from subtractive processes like milling to bottom-up additive manufacturing. The same may be on the horizon now for synthetic chemistry, where this time rather than ‘building’ new molecules by putting together small pieces, a whole new design space may be accessible through selective bond cleavage in existing materials – clipping off parts of existing molecules. The EU-funded CLIPOFF-CHEM project intends to develop and demonstrate techniques for ‘clip-off chemistry’ using rigid ‘reticular’ molecules as a starting point, and to characterise the resultant properties.


Historically, innovations in synthetic methods and reactions have changed the way scientists think about designing and synthesizing materials and molecules. Indeed, novel synthetic methods not only unlock access to previously unattainable structures, but also inspire new concepts as to how we design and build materials to address global social, economic and industrial needs. The project that I propose here, CLIPOFF-CHEM, centers on the demonstration of a novel synthetic methodology that I have named Clip-off Chemistry. Unlike most state-of-the-art synthetic approaches, which use bottom-up strategies to link atoms and molecules through the formation of new bonds, Clip-off Chemistry is based instead on the selective cleavage of existing bonds in reticular materials, providing precise spatial control over bond cleavage. In reticular materials, this cleavage can be programmed to enable the synthesis of limitless materials varying by composition (from organic to metal-organic), dimensionality (from 3-D to 0-D) and size-scale (from macro- to nanoscale). Accordingly, in CLIPOFF-CHEM, I will employ clip-off synthesis to prepare a diverse collection of new materials and molecules, including new 3-D metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), low-dimensional (2-D and 1-D) materials, organic polymers, metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs), complexes and macrocycles. Our work will encompass 1) synthesis of the reticular material precursors (MOFs, COFs and MOPs) that incorporate non-cleavable and cleavable (alkene/alkyne) groups in precise positions of their structures; and 2) cleavage of alkene/alkyne groups through ozonolysis to produce the targeted materials. As the resultant products will be novel, we will also endeavor to identify and characterize any unprecedented structural or functional properties of them. I believe that CLIPOFF-CHEM will provide the global scientific community with an innovative methodology for the design and synthesis of new functional molecules and materials.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 505 645,00
08193 Cerdanyola Del Valles

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 2 505 645,00

Beneficiaries (1)