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  1. Crystals composed of photoreactive molecules represent a new class of photomechanical materials with the potential to generate large forces on fast timescales. An example is the photodimerization of 9- tert -butyl-anthracene ester ( 9TBAE ) in molecular crystal nanorods that leads to an average elongation of 8%. Previous work showed that this expansion results from the formation of a metastable crystalline product. In this article, it is shown how a novel combination of ensemble oriented-crystal solid-state NMR, X-ray diffraction, and first principles computational modeling can be used to establish the absolute unit cell orientations relative to the shape change, revealing the atomic-resolution mechanism for the photomechanical response and enabling the construction of a model that predicts an elongation of 7.4%, in good agreement with the experimental value. According to this model, the nanorod expansion does not result from an overall change in the volume of the unit cell, but rather from an anisotropic rearrangement of the molecular contents. The ability to understand quantitatively how molecular-level photochemistry generates mechanical displacements allows us to predict that the expansion could be tuned from +9% to −9.5% by controlling the initial orientation of the unit cell with respect to the nanorod axis. This applicationmore »of NMR-assisted crystallography provides a new tool capable of tying the atomic-level structural rearrangement of the reacting molecular species to the mechanical response of a nanostructured sample.« less
  2. The hydrogen-bonding environments at the COOH moiety in eight polycrystalline polymorphs of palmitic acid are explored using solid-state NMR. Although most phases have no previously reported crystal structure, measured 13 C chemical shift tensors for COOH moieties, combined with DFT modeling establish that all phases crystallize with a cyclic dimer ( R 22(8)) hydrogen bonding arrangement. Phases A 2 , B m and E m have localized OH hydrogens while phase C has a dynamically disordered OH hydrogen. The phase designated A s is a mix of five forms, including 27.4% of B m and four novel phases not fully characterized here due to insufficient sample mass. For phases A 2 , B m , E m , and C the anisotropic uncertainties in the COOH hydrogen atom positions are established using a Monte Carlo sampling scheme. Sampled points are retained or rejected at the ±1 σ level based upon agreement of DFT computed 13 COOH tensors with experimental values. The collection of retained hydrogen positions bear a remarkable resemblance to the anisotropic displacement parameters ( i.e. thermal ellipsoids) from diffraction studies. We posit that this similarity is no mere coincidence and that the two are fundamentally related. The volumesmore »of NMR-derived anisotropic displacement ellipsoids for phases with localized OH hydrogens are 4.1 times smaller than those derived from single crystal X-ray diffraction and 1.8 times smaller than the volume of benchmark single crystal neutron diffraction values.« less
  3. The effects on the molecular recognition properties of water-soluble deep cavitand hosts upon embedding them in phosphocholine lipid bilayer environments have been studied by 2D NMR experiments. By employing suitable guests containing 19 F or 13 C nuclei that can be encapsulated inside the host, 2D EXSY NMR experiments can be used to analyze and compare the in/out guest exchange rates in aqueous solution, isotropically tumbling micelles, or magnetically ordered bicelles. These analyses show that embedding the deep cavitands in lipid bilayers slows the guest exchange rate, due to the lipids acting as a “compression sleeve” around the host, restricting guest egress. This effect also enhances guest conformations in the host that are not observed in free solution, such as axial cyclohexane conformers and ketone hydrates.