RIST Outline

Division of Synergetic Supramolecular Coordination Systems in Multiphase

Director  Makoto Tadokoro:Professor, Division of Chemistry, Faculty of Science DivisionⅠ 
Research Content Performing structural, physical, and functional evaluation of organic, inorganic, and biological complex molecular systems
Objetcitves The Division of Synergetic Supramolecular Coordination Systems in Multiphase joins together synthesized complex molecules (organic-inorganic complex molecular devices) to create complex functionality that would be difficult for a single molecule to attain, and aims to produce novel synergistic effects.

-The Research Highlight, 2016-

Research Aims

Researchers who target molecules such as inorganic-organic complex molecules perform molecular design to study the synthesis of target molecules with new functionality. For example, useful new molecular systems that do not exist in nature are being constructed one after another, such as artificial proteins, molecular machines, molecular superconductors, multiferroic molecular crystals, photomolecular catalysts, Grätzel solar cells, and organic thin film field effect transistors.


Furthermore, in addition to the rapid pace at which functional molecules are being developed by these ideas, a trend has recently appeaed to ward the development of “molecular coordination systems,” which join to get her different functionalized molecules. Synergistic complex supramolecular systems that join together these different functionalized molecules are characterized not only by the combination of their existing functions, but also by the appearance of synergistic effects. At the Division of Synergetic Supramolecular Coordination Systems in Multiphase, several molecules synthesized by different members of the group are mutually interacted to create complex functionality that is difficult to obtain from a single molecule, in an attempt to produce novel synergistic effects. When building this kind of molecular system, although virtually all of the molecules can be synthesized at the current scientific level, controlling the arrangement of these molecules in order to harness their intermolecular interactions has become an extremely important problem. Accordingly, this research attempts to bring together various strategies for controlling crystal structure, surface organization, molecular arrangement, and molecular structure. For example, the ultimate ensemble that uses synergistic complex systems with these kinds of functionalized molecules is a photosynthesis system. In such a system,


the individual molecules on a thin film including many biological molecules appear to function together in an overall uniform interaction (Figure 1), allowing photosynthesis to convert 70% of solar energy into chemical energy, stored in the form of high-energy molecules such as ATP and NADPH. In this kind of complex system, molecules that have several roles interact on the thin film to create the target functionality.

Three supramolecular coordination themes

In our research division, the first goal is to develop the individual functionalized molecules. The next goal is mutually to interact different molecules in supramolecular and crystallographic assemblies to develop molecular systems with novel functionality to produce synergistic effects (even under a scanning tunneling microscope). Our research is therefore divided into the following three themes, the aim of which is to mutually construct molecules and induce intermolecular interactions using systems that are controlled in an advanced way.

  1. Molecular coordination physics: This theme focuses on solid-state physical properties such as optics, magnetism, and conductivity. The synthesis in this research theme focuses on controlling the electron system by giving degrees of freedom to the molecules and ions. We are striving to build molecular coordination systems with a proton-coupled electron transfer in particular.
  2. Molecular coordination structure: This theme conducts research into interlocking compounds that act as mechano-chemical supramolecules, metallic clusters that have limited to novel structures and numbers, and the chirality of interface structures and crystals. We create molecular machines that exhibit supramolecular motion and chirality that controls on the interfaces and in the crystals, metal cluster catalysts that exhibit physical properties for controlling structures and numbers.
  3. Molecular coordination biology: This theme involves molecular design based on biological energy conversion such as photosynthesis. We aim for energy conversion, such as from light energy to chemical energy or chemical energy to mechanical energy, through the use of molecular complexes based on biological mimic systems such as porphyrin complexes, electron transfer complexes, and luminescent complexes.
Establishment of the Division of Synergetic Supramolecular Coordination Systems in Multiphase

Over the last several years, many academic staff members specializing in coordination chemistry have been employed at the Tokyo University of Science, particularly in the Faculty of Science. For this reason, the ” Supramolecular Coordination Chemistry Research Group in Tokyo University of Science ” was established in 2010 with the aim of bringing together capabilities (molecular design, molecular synthesis, and molecular analysis) from the various schools within the Tokyo University of Science (January 18, 2011). In other words, an attempt was begun to create a place for academic exchange and cooperative research between academic staff and students who belong to the physically separated Kagurazaka area and Noda campuses. The aim was to hold discussions and conduct research in a carefree and innovative way in order to make a major contribution to this field and to have a large impact both domestically and internationally. Research group members applied for funding for our research activities through a 2011 “Grant-in-Aid for Collaborative Research” awarded by the dean for “Chemistry Related To Photosynthesis Using Metal Complexes and Supramolecules.” The funds were used to purchase a fluorescence lifetime spectrometer, which is currently being utilized in collaborative research between our members. Our second conference on funding for our collaborative research was held on July 9, 2010, at Building 14 of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. After the keynote lecture titled “Chemistry related to photosynthesis using metal complexes and supramolecules,” by Professor Akiharu Satake of the Faculty of Science at our university a presentation session was held by the research group members. For our third conference on November 18, 2011, the symposium “Interface Science and Coordination Chemistry—An Approach to Biological-Related Functions” was held. The conference had such main features as a chairman, presentations, and a statement of purpose. Furthermore, on August 23, 2012, the researchers seeking approval to establish the new division gathered and held a Preparatory Meeting on Establishing the Division of Synergetic Supramolecular Coordination Systems in Multiphase.

Future Development Goals

A scientific field is needed that attempts to control molecular arrangement and proactively utilizes intermolecular interactions. In particular, possible future advancements include biological functions, proton-coupled electron transfer systems, and mechanicalphotochemical energy conversion that are governed by intermolecular interactions.


Almost all researchers who work on molecular coordination systems focus on molecules. Although molecular design and molecular synthesis have become possible following previous scientific advances, challenges still exist in making these molecules selforganizing and harnessing the intermolecular interactions between them. Biological molecules represent the only known “complete molecular devices” to achieve this feat, and we plan to continue with our research on mimicking the intermolecular interactions of these molecules.

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