Computational prediction of optimal metal ions to induce coordinated polymerization of muscle-like [c2]daisy chains

Yan Ling Zhao*, Rui Qin Zhang, Christian Minot, Klaus Hermann, M. A. VAN HOVE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, a muscle-like organometallic polymer has been successfully synthesized using Fe2+ as a linker atom. The polymer exhibits acid-base controllable muscle-like expansion and contraction on the micrometer scale. Further development could be facilitated by revealing the polymerization mechanism and by searching for optimal linker atoms. In this work, we have examined possible equilibrium and intermediate polymer structures, which consist of [c2]daisy chains linked by divalent transition metal ions (Sc2+, Ti2+, Fe2+, Co2+, Ni2+ or Zn2+) with various hexa-coordination arrangements, based on calculations using density functional theory. We find that the metal linkers in polymers are weaker in acid than in base due to excess positive charges on the polymer, leading to their thermodynamical instability or even decomposition. This can explain the experimental difficulty in improving the degree of polymerization for metal-linked polymers. We also find that the polymers with either Fe2+ or Co2+ are the most favorable, with the latter extending 1.4% longer than with the former. Since Fe2+ has been confirmed experimentally to be a successful linker, Co2+ would function equally well and thus could be used as an alternative choice for polymerization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7419-7426
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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