Emergence of chirality and structural complexity in single crystals at the molecular and morphological levels

Maria Chiara di Gregorio, Linda J.W. Shimon, Vlad Brumfeld, Lothar Houben, Michal Lahav, Milko E. van der Boom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Naturally occurring single crystals having a multidomain morphology are a counterintuitive phenonomon: the macroscopic appearance is expected to follow the symmetry of the unit cell. Growing such crystals in the lab is a great challenge, especially from organic molecules. We achieve here uniform metallo-organic crystals that exhibit single crystallinity with apparently distinct domains and chirality. The chirality is present at both the molecular and macroscopic levels, although only achiral elements are used. “Yo-yo”-like structures having opposite helical handedness evolve from initially formed seemingly achiral cylinders. This non-polyhedral morphology coexists with a continuous coordination network forming homochiral channels. This work sheds light on the enigmatic aspects of fascinating crystallization processes occurring in biological mineralization. Our findings open up opportunities to generate new porous and hierarchical chiral materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number380
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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