Dynamic molecular crystals with switchable physical properties

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The development of molecular materials whose physical properties can be controlled by external stimuli-such as light, electric field, temperature, and pressure-has recently attracted much attention owing to their potential applications in molecular devices. There are a number of ways to alter the physical properties of crystalline materials. These include the modulation of the spin and redox states of the crystal's components, or the incorporation within the crystalline lattice of tunable molecules that exhibit stimuli-induced changes in their molecular structure. A switching behaviour can also be induced by changing the molecular orientation of the crystal's components, even in cases where the overall molecular structure is not affected. Controlling intermolecular interactions within a molecular material is also an effective tool to modulate its physical properties. This Review discusses recent advances in the development of such stimuli-responsive, switchable crystalline compounds-referred to here as dynamic molecular crystals-and suggests how different approaches can serve to prepare functional materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-656
Number of pages13
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 21 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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