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129th General Meeting of Korean Chemical Society & Exposition The Molecular Unflattening Project: Frustration, Adaptation, and Cooperation

Submission Date :
3 / 14 / 2022 , 11 : 34 : 21
Abstract Number :
Presenting Type:
Presenting Area :
KCS - Award Lecture - 2022 Man Jung Han Academic Award
Authors :
Dongwhan Lee
Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, Korea
Assigned Code :
AWARD2-1 Assigend Code Guideline
Presenting Time :
WED, 13 : 30
Structure begets function. Novel functions emerge from novel structures, either by rational molecular design (as we often claim retrospectively even without guilt) or by sheer serendipity (although we ordinarily do not disclose). For some time now, my research group has been exploring the chemistry of bent and stackable polyaromatics as conformationally well-defined turn motifs for spontaneously folding π-conjugated molecules and self-assembling macrocycles.

What new properties would emerge if close π–π contacts between large and flat aromatic surfaces are intentionally thwarted? This open-ended question prompted our recent ventures into the chemistry of (i) porous crystals displaying cavity-changing motions, (ii) hydrophobic collapse of polycationic fluorophores, (iii) allosteric gating of canopied container molecules, (iv) sequence-specific interdigitation of molecular clips, and (v) hierarchical folding of cation-responsive molecular tweezers. This presentation will discuss key design principles, synthetic implementations, and functional consequences of the steric and electronic frustration that is endured (and also exploited) by triazoliptycenes, isobenzimidazoles, and even substituted benzenes.

Unflattening is about “restoring something flattened to its previous form” — or so they say. To me, it is seeing beauty hidden in plain sight, or even in sheer invisibility. That is where this title came from, “The Molecular Unflattening Project”, an unmatched liberating experience.