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  1. Abstract

    Inorganic salts usually demonstrate simple phasal behaviors in dilute aqueous solution mainly involving soluble (homogeneous) and insoluble (macrophase separation) scenarios. Herein, we report the discovery of complex phase behavior involving multiple phase transitions of clear solution – macrophase separation – gelation – solution – macrophase separation in the dilute aqueous solutions of a structurally well-defined molecular cluster [Mo7O24]6−macroanions with the continuous addition of Fe3+. No chemical reaction was involved. The transitions are closely related to the strong electrostatic interaction between [Mo7O24]6−and their Fe3+counterions, the counterion-mediated attraction and the consequent charge inversion, leading to the formation of linear/branched supramolecular structures, as confirmed by experimental results and molecular dynamics simulations. The rich phase behavior demonstrated by the inorganic cluster [Mo7O24]6−expands our understanding of nanoscale ions in solution.

     
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  2. Macroionic solutions behave quite differently from small ions in solution or colloids in suspension, representing a previously missing and very important transitional stage, and can further be connected to solutions of polyelectrolytes, including proteins and DNA ( e.g. , similarities between “blackberry” formation and virus capsid formation). While synthesis and characterization have produced an immense database regarding the self-assembly behavior of macroions in solution resulting in many empirical rules and guidelines, theory and simulations are sorely needed to connect these disparate threads into a cohesive and coherent narrative of macroionic solution theory and to provide guidance for future work. We recently developed a versatile coarse-grained model specifically designed for modelling the self-assembly of macroions in solution and have answered some of the most outstanding questions about the solution behavior of macroions including the source of the attractive force between like-charged macroions and how they self-assemble into a 2D monolayer structure. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Zwitterionic Ni( ii )-catalyzed carbonylative copolymerization of ethylene and cyclic ethers for the synthesis of photolytically and hydrolytically degradable polymers is reported. The segmented tetrapolymer products are composed of polyketone segments from alternating enchainments of CO and ethylene and poly(ether- co -ester) segments from non-alternating enchainments of CO, ethylene oxide, and tetrahydrofuran. Plastic and elastic products can be obtained via the general synthetic platform with the appropriate choice of catalyst and polymerization conditions. 
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  4. We report herein that dendron-shaped macromolecules AB n crystallize into well-ordered pyramid-like structures from mixed solvents, instead of spherical motifs with curved structures, as found in the bulk. The design of the asymmetric molecular architecture and the choice of mixed solvents are applied as strategies to manipulate the crystallization process. In mixed solvents, the solvent selection for the Janus macromolecule and the existence of dominant crystalline clusters contribute to the formation of flat nanosheets. Whereas during solvent evaporation, the bulkiness of the asymmetric macromolecules easily creates defects within 2D nanosheets which lead to their spiral growth through screw dislocation. The size of the nanosheets and the growth into 2D nanosheets or 3D pyramidal structures can be regulated by the solvent ratio and solvent compositions. Moreover, macromolecules of higher asymmetry generate polycrystals of lower orderliness, probably due to higher localized stress. 
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