Our approach to biological applications has been to target “robust” self-assembled systems, we have recently developed a so-called “assembly-followed-by-fixing” strategy that allows both thermodynamically favoured (tetrahedral) and disfavoured species (highly-distorted helicates) to be isolated.
Figure 2 (right). Crystal Structures of a CoIII4L6 tetrahedron and CoIII2L3 helicates. The propensity to lock the system allows either species to be isolated in close to quantitative yields despite the smaller species being energetically disfavoured under ambient conditions.
Unpublished results have shown that these species possess low cytotoxicity, furthermore related species can be used to encapsulate various diagnostics and therapeutics.