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Special Issue "Functional Molecular Materials"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 March 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Shiqiang Bai

Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), 2 Fusionopolis Way, #08-03, Innovis, Singapore 138634, Republic of Singapore
Website | E-Mail
Interests: organic–inorganic hybrid materials; functional molecular materials
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David James Young

Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Queensland 4558, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: molecular materials
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. T. S. Andy Hor

The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: organometallics; homogeneous catalysis; molecular materials; heterometallic; hybrid ligands

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Molecules is pleased to announce a Special Issue on “Functional Molecular Materials”. Molecular materials are defined as those with well-defined structures at the molecule level. Typical examples are coordination polymers, metal–organic frameworks, polymers and polymer composites. These materials have broad applications, including molecular magnetism, luminescence, catalysis, energy harvest or conversion, and biological applications. The aim of this Special Issue is to summarize and demonstrate recent advances in molecular materials, and to build a network of researchers in this area.

This Special Issue welcomes submission of previously unpublished manuscripts (original researches or reviews) detailing investigations of the structures and functions of molecular materials. Examples of these studies may include:

  • The self-assembly of well-defined functional coordination polymers and metal-organic frameworks
  • Organic-inorganic superlattice structures and applications
  • Functional molecule-polymer composites with stimuli responsiveness
  • Functionalized composites for catalysis and energy conversion
  • Chiral, magnetic, catalytic, luminescent, electrically conductive, and thermoelectric molecular materials.

We plan to receive submissions from November 2017 to March 2018. Manuscripts will be published on an ongoing basis after being processed.

Dr. Shiqiang Bai
Prof. Dr. David James Young
Prof. Dr. T. S. Andy Hor
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Molecular Materials
  • Coordination polymers
  • Metal-organic frameworks
  • Hydrogels
  • Polymers
  • Hybrid materials
  • Energy conversion
  • Energy harvesting

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Co2 and Co3 Mixed Cluster Secondary Building Unit Approach toward a Three-Dimensional Metal-Organic Framework with Permanent Porosity
Molecules 2018, 23(4), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23040755
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (14975 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Large and permanent porosity is the primary concern when designing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for specific applications, such as catalysis and drug delivery. In this article, we report a MOF Co11(BTB)6(NO3)4(DEF)2(H2O)14
[...] Read more.
Large and permanent porosity is the primary concern when designing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for specific applications, such as catalysis and drug delivery. In this article, we report a MOF Co11(BTB)6(NO3)4(DEF)2(H2O)14 (1, H3BTB = 1,3,5-tris(4-carboxyphenyl)benzene; DEF = N,N-diethylformamide) via a mixed cluster secondary building unit (SBU) approach. MOF 1 is sustained by a rare combination of a linear trinuclear Co3 and two types of dinuclear Co2 SBUs in a 1:2:2 ratio. These SBUs are bridged by BTB ligands to yield a three-dimensional (3D) non-interpenetrated MOF as a result of the less effective packing due to the geometrically contrasting SBUs. The guest-free framework of 1 has an estimated density of 0.469 g cm−3 and exhibits a potential solvent accessible void of 69.6% of the total cell volume. The activated sample of 1 exhibits an estimated Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area of 155 m2 g−1 and is capable of CO2 uptake of 58.61 cm3 g−1 (2.63 mmol g−1, 11.6 wt % at standard temperature and pressure) in a reversible manner at 195 K, showcasing its permanent porosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Multifunctional Fischer Aminocarbene Complexes as Hole or Electron Transporting Layers in Organic Solar Cells
Molecules 2018, 23(4), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23040751
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
PDF Full-text (19517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new series of Fischer carbenes have been synthetized and examined as hole-transporting or electron-transporting layers (HTLs or ETLs) in the fabrication of organic solar cells (OSCs). The synthesis of three Fischer aminocarbene complexes with the general formula [Cr(CO)5{C(NHCH2)Ar}]
[...] Read more.
A new series of Fischer carbenes have been synthetized and examined as hole-transporting or electron-transporting layers (HTLs or ETLs) in the fabrication of organic solar cells (OSCs). The synthesis of three Fischer aminocarbene complexes with the general formula [Cr(CO)5{C(NHCH2)Ar}] (Ar = 2-pyridyl (3a), 3-pyridyl (3b) and 4-pyridyl (3c)) is reported. The molecular structure of complex 3b has been confirmed by X-ray analysis. In order to study the possible applications of the three Fischer aminocarbenes in OSCs, thin films of these complexes were prepared using a vacuum deposition process. These organometallic films were chemically and morphologically characterized by IR spectroscopy, SEM, AFM and XRD. According to the IR and Tauc analysis, the vacuum deposition process generates thin films free of impurities with an activation energy of 4.0, 2.7 and 2.1 eV for 3a, 3b y 3c, respectively. The UV-vis spectra of the amorphous aminocarbene films show that they are practically transparent to the visible radiation of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is due to the fact that their absorption is located mainly in the ultraviolet range. Two OSCs with bulk-heterojunction configuration were manufactured in order to prove the use of the aminocarbenes as ETL o HTL. The aminocarbene [Cr(CO)5{C(NHCH2) 4-pyridyl}] (3c) proved to be suitable as ETL with a fill factor (FF) of 0.23 and a short circuit current density (JSC) of 1.037 mA/cm2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Simultaneous Screening of Major Flame Retardants and Plasticizers in Polymer Materials Using Pyrolyzer/Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (Py/TD–GC–MS)
Molecules 2018, 23(4), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23040728
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
PDF Full-text (8192 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study was conducted with the aim of achieving the simultaneous screening of various additives in polymer materials by utilizing a solvent-free pyrolyzer/thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py/TD-GC–MS) method. As a first step to achieve this goal, simultaneous screening has been examined
[...] Read more.
This study was conducted with the aim of achieving the simultaneous screening of various additives in polymer materials by utilizing a solvent-free pyrolyzer/thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py/TD-GC–MS) method. As a first step to achieve this goal, simultaneous screening has been examined by selecting major substances representing plasticizers and flame retardants, such as short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). A quantitative MS analysis was performed to check for the peak areas and sensitivities. Since Py/TD-GC–MS is fraught with the risk of thermal degradation of the sample, temperatures during the analytical process were finely tuned for securing reliable results. The instrumental sensitivity was confirmed by the S/N ratio on each component. The detection limits of all components were less than 50 mg/kg, which are sufficiently lower than the regulatory criteria. With regard to reproducibility, a relative standard deviation (RSD) of about 5% was confirmed by employing a spike recovery test on a polystyrene polymer solution containing mixed standard solution (ca. 1000 mg/kg). In conclusion, the results obtained in this study indicate that Py/TD-GC–MS is applicable for the screening of major flame retardants and plasticizers in real samples with sufficient reproducibility at regulatory levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Relationship between the Polymeric Ionization Degree and Powder and Surface Properties in Materials Derived from Poly(maleic anhydride-alt-octadecene)
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23020320
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Polymeric materials derived from poly(maleic anhydride-alt-octadecene)—here referred as PAM-18—have shown interesting properties that make them potential pharmaceutical excipients. In this work, eight polymers derived from PAM-18 were obtained using NaOH and KOH at 1:1; 1:0.75, 1:0.5, and 1:0.25 molar ratios. The
[...] Read more.
Polymeric materials derived from poly(maleic anhydride-alt-octadecene)—here referred as PAM-18—have shown interesting properties that make them potential pharmaceutical excipients. In this work, eight polymers derived from PAM-18 were obtained using NaOH and KOH at 1:1; 1:0.75, 1:0.5, and 1:0.25 molar ratios. The resulting products were labeled as PAM-18Na and PAM-18K, respectively. Each polymer was purified by ultrafiltration/lyophilization, and the ionization degree was determined by potentiometric studies, which was related to the zeta potential. The structural characterization was performed using the Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) espectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The physical characterization was carried out by SEM, particle analysis, and humidity loss and gain studies; the surface studies were performed by the sessile drop method. PAM-18Na had ionization degrees of 95%, 63%, 39% and 22%, whereas those for PAM-18K were 99%, 52%, 35% and 20%, respectively. The results also showed that for higher inorganic base amounts used, the polymeric materials obtained possess high ionization degrees, which could form polymeric solutions or hetero-dispersed systems. Likewise, it was observed that for higher proportions of carboxylate groups in the polymeric structure, the capability to retain water is increased and, only can be eliminated by drying at temperatures greater than 160 °C. On the other hand, the modification of PAM-18 to its ionized forms led to the formation of powder materials with low flowability and surfaces that ranged from very hydrophobic to slightly wettable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Nano/Mesoporous Carbon from Rice Starch for Voltammetric Detection of Ascorbic Acid
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23020234
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1893 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Rice starch (RS-)based nano/mesoporous carbon (RSNMC) was prepared via a hard-templating route using cheap rice starch as a carbon source. XRD and TEM characterization indicated the formation of organized nanoporous RSNMC. Nitrogen absorption–desorption studies revealed a high surface area of up to 488
[...] Read more.
Rice starch (RS-)based nano/mesoporous carbon (RSNMC) was prepared via a hard-templating route using cheap rice starch as a carbon source. XRD and TEM characterization indicated the formation of organized nanoporous RSNMC. Nitrogen absorption–desorption studies revealed a high surface area of up to 488 m2∙g−1, uniform pore size of 3.92 nm, and pore volume of 1.14 cm3∙g−1. A RSNMC-modified glassy carbon (GC) electrode was employed for the determination of ascorbic acid (AA) and exhibited a linear response in the concentration range of 0.005–6.0 mM with a detection limit of 0.003 mM. These results demonstrate that RSNMC has potential as an advanced and cheap electrode material for electrochemical sensing and other electrocatalytic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Gold-Based Medicine: A Paradigm Shift in Anti-Cancer Therapy?
Molecules 2018, 23(6), 1410; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23061410
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
PDF Full-text (2929 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new era of metal-based drugs started in the 1960s, heralded by the discovery of potent platinum-based complexes, commencing with cisplatin [(H3N)2PtCl2], which are effective anti-cancer chemotherapeutic drugs. While clinical applications of gold-based drugs largely relate to
[...] Read more.
A new era of metal-based drugs started in the 1960s, heralded by the discovery of potent platinum-based complexes, commencing with cisplatin [(H3N)2PtCl2], which are effective anti-cancer chemotherapeutic drugs. While clinical applications of gold-based drugs largely relate to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, attention has turned to the investigation of the efficacy of gold(I) and gold(III) compounds for anti-cancer applications. This review article provides an account of the latest research conducted during the last decade or so on the development of gold compounds and their potential activities against several cancers as well as a summary of possible mechanisms of action/biological targets. The promising activities and increasing knowledge of gold-based drug metabolism ensures that continued efforts will be made to develop gold-based anti-cancer agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Other

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Open AccessFeature PaperPerspective Thermogelling 3D Systems towards Stem Cell-Based Tissue Regeneration Therapies
Molecules 2018, 23(3), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23030553
Received: 4 January 2018 / Revised: 25 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
PDF Full-text (7707 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stem cell culturing and differentiation is a very important research direction for tissue engineering. Thermogels are well suited for encapsulating cells because of their non-biotoxic nature and mild sol-gel transition as temperature increases. In particular, thermogels provide a 3D growth environment for stem
[...] Read more.
Stem cell culturing and differentiation is a very important research direction for tissue engineering. Thermogels are well suited for encapsulating cells because of their non-biotoxic nature and mild sol-gel transition as temperature increases. In particular, thermogels provide a 3D growth environment for stem cell growth, which is more similar to the extracellular matrix than flat substrates, so thermogels as a medium can overcome many of the cell abnormalities caused by 2D cell growth. In this review, we summarize the applications of thermogels in cell and stem cell culture in recent years. We also elaborate on the methods to induce stem cell differentiation by using thermogel-based 3D scaffolds. In particular, thermogels, encapsulating specific differentiation-inducing factor and having specific structures and moduli, can induce the differentiation into the desired tissue cells. Three dimensional thermogel scaffolds that control the growth and differentiation of cells will undoubtedly have a bright future in regenerative medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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