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Science. 2010 Oct 1;330(6000):66-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1193928.

Allosteric supramolecular triple-layer catalysts.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and the International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-3113, USA.


Allosteric regulation of organometallic catalysts could allow for greater control over reactions. We report an allosteric supramolecular structure in which a monometallic catalytic site has been buried in the middle layer of a triple-layer complex. Small molecules and elemental anions can open and close this complex and reversibly expose and conceal the catalytic center. The ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone can be turned on by the in situ opening of the triple-layer complex and then completely turned off by reforming it through the abstraction of Cl(-), the allosteric effector agent, without appreciable loss of catalytic activity. This process can regulate the molecular weights of the resulting polymers.

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