Selective signalling of alcohols by a molecular lattice and mechanism of single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformations

José Sánchez Costa, Santiago Rodríguez-Jiménez, Gavin A. Craig, Benjamin Barth, Christine M. Beavers, Simon J. Teat, Kevin J. Gagnon, Leoní A. Barrios, Olivier Roubeau, Guillem Aromí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single-crystal-to-single-crystal (SCSC) transformations of molecular materials involving exchange of lattice molecules are becoming commonplace and very relevant in areas like chemical sensing or the pharmaceutical sector. Spin crossover (SCO) complexes could be great candidates to act as molecular chemical sensors using spin switching to signal detection. We describe here the capacity of the Fe(ii) molecular material [Fe(bpp)(H2L)](ClO4)2·C3H6O (bpp and H2L are 2,6-bis-(pyrazol-3-yl)-pyridine type ligands) to have its lattice acetone molecules replaced by certain selected alcohols from the gas phase (MeOH, EtOH or nPrOH but not iPrOH), signalling the process by a spin transition that also changes the colour of the crystals. The magnetic response of the signalling complex depends on the chain length of the alcohol, allowing selective detection. As these molecular exchanges are SCSC processes, the structures of the alcoholates obtained have been determined by single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD). The removal of n-propanol from its host lattice has been quenched in operando at various intermediate stages and studied by SCXRD to unveil crucial details of the mechanism of this SCSC transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3175
Number of pages11
JournalInorganic Chemistry Frontiers
Issue number17
Early online date15 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2020


  • magnetism
  • coordination chemistry
  • inorganic chemistry
  • spin crossover


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