The term architectonics has its roots in the architectural and philosophical (as early as 1600s) literature that refers to "the theory of structure" and "the structure of theory", respectively. The concept of architectonics has been adapted to advance the field of molecular self-assembly and termed as molecular architectonics. In essence, the methodology of organizing molecular units in the required and controlled configurations to develop advanced functional systems for materials and biological applications comprises the field of molecular architectonics. This concept of designing noncovalent systems enables to focus on different functional aspects of designer molecules for biological and nonbiological applications and also strengthens our efforts toward the mastery over the art of controlled molecular self-assemblies. Programming complex molecular interactions and assemblies for specific functions has been one of the most challenging tasks in the modern era. Meticulously ordered molecular assemblies can impart remarkable developments in several areas spanning energy, health, and environment. For example, the well-defined nano-, micro-, and macroarchitectures of functional molecules with specific molecular ordering possess potential applications in flexible electronics, photovoltaics, photonic crystals, microreactors, sensors, drug delivery, biomedicine, and superhydrophobic coatings, among others. The functional molecular architectures having unparalleled properties are widely evident in various designs of Nature. By drawing inspirations from Nature, intended molecular architectures can be designed and developed to harvest various functions, as there is an inexhaustible resource and scope. In this Account, we present exquisite designer molecules developed by our group and others with an objective to master the art of molecular recognition and self-assembly for functional applications. We demonstrate the tailor-ability of molecular self-assemblies by employing biomolecules like amino acids and nucleobases as auxiliaries. Naphthalenediimide (NDI), perylenediimide (PDI), and few other molecular systems serve as functional modules. The effects of stereochemistry and minute structural modifications in the molecular designs on the supramolecular interactions, and construction of self-assembled zero-dimensional (OD), one-dimensional (1D), and two-dimensional (2D) nano- and microarchitectures like particles, spheres, cups, bowls, fibers, belts, helical belts, supercoiled helices, sheets, fractals, and honeycomb-like arrays are discussed in extensive detail. Additionally, we present molecular systems that showcase the elegant designs of coassembly, templated assembly, hierarchical assembly, transient self-assembly, chiral denaturation, retentive helical memory, self-replication, supramolecular regulation, supramolecular speciation, supernon linearity, dynamic pathway complexity, supramolecular heterojunction, living supramolecular polymerization, and molecular machines. Finally, we describe the molecular engineering principles learnt over the years that have led to several applications, namely, organic electronics, self-cleaning, high-mechanical strength, and tissue engineering.
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Cited by 2 articles
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