The Reticular Chemistry Structure Resource (RCSR) database of, and symbols for, crystal nets

Michael O'Keeffe, Maxim A. Peskov, Stuart J. Ramsden, Omar M. Yaghi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1909 Citations (Scopus)


    (Figure Presented) During the past decade, interest has grown tremendously in the design and synthesis of crystalline materials constructed from molecular clusters linked by extended groups of atoms. Most notable are metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), in which polyatomic inorganic metal-containing clusters are joined by polytopic linkers. (Although these materials are sometimes referred to as coordination polymers, we prefer to differentiate them, because MOFs are based on strong linkages that yield robust frameworks.) The realization that MOFs could be designed and synthesized in a rational way from molecular building blocks led to the emergence of a discipline that we call reticular chemistry. MOFs can be represented as a special kind of graph called a periodic net. Such descriptions date back to the earliest crystallographic studies but have become much more common recently because thousands of new structures and hundreds of underlying nets have been reported. In the simplest cases (e.g., the structure of diamond), the atoms in the crystal become the vertices of the net, and bonds are the links (edges) that connect them. In the case of MOFs, polyatomic groups act as the vertices and edges of the net. Because of the explosive growth in this area, a need has arisen for a universal system of nomenclature, classification, identification, and retrieval of these topological structures. We have developed a system of symbols for the identification of three periodic nets of interest, and this system is now in wide use. In this Account, we explain the underlying methodology of assigning symbols and describe the Reticular Chemistry Structure Resource (RCSR), in which about 1600 such nets are collected and illustrated in a database that can be searched by symbol, name, keywords, and attributes. The resource also contains searchable data for polyhedra and layers. The database entries come from systematic enumerations or from known chemical compounds or both. In the latter case, references to occurrences are provided. We describe some crystallographic, topological, and other attributes of nets and explain how they are reported in the database. We also describe how the database can be used as a tool for the design and structural analysis of new materials. Associated with each net is a natural tiling, which is a natural partition of space into space-filling tiles. The database allows export of data that can be used to analyze and illustrate such tilings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1782-1789
    Number of pages8
    JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2008


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