Jean-Marie Lehn

Perspectives in Chemistry: Towards Adaptive Chemistry

Thursday, 1 July 2010
09:00 - 09:30 CEST


Supramolecular chemistry explores the design of systems undergoing self-organization, i.e. systems capable of generating well-defined functional supramolecular architectures by self-assembly from their components, thus behaving as programmed chemical systems. Chemistry may therefore be considered as an information science, the science of informed matter.
The design of molecular information-controlled functional self-organizing systems also provides an original approach to nanoscience and nanotechnology
Supramolecular chemistry is intrinsically a dynamic chemistry in view of the lability of the interactions connecting the molecular components of a supramolecular entity and the resulting ability of supramolecular species to exchange their constituents. The same holds for molecular chemistry when the molecular entity contains covalent bonds that may form and break reversibility, so as to allow a continuous change in constitution by reorganization and exchange of building blocks. These features define a Constitutional Dynamic Chemistry (CDC) on both the molecular and supramolecular levels.
CDC takes advantage of dynamic constitutional diversity to allow variation and selection in response to either internal or external factors to achieve adaptation.
The merging of the features: - information and programmability, - dynamics and reversibility, - constitution and structural diversity, points towards the emergence of adaptive and evolutive chemistry.

Lehn, J.-M., Supramolecular Chemistry: Concepts and Perspectives, VCH Weinheim, 1995.
Lehn, J.-M., Toward complex matter: Supramolecular chemistry and self-organization, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2002, 99, 4763.
Lehn, J.-M., From supramolecular chemistry towards constitutional dynamic chemistry and adaptive chemistry, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2007, 36, 151.

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