The Crystalline Sponge Method in Water

Wester de Poel, Paul Tinnemans, Alexander L. L. Duchateau, Maarten Honing, Floris P. J. T. Rutjes, Elias Vlieg, Rene de Gelder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The crystalline sponge method entails the elucidation of the (absolute) structure of molecules from a solution phase using single-crystal X-ray diffraction and eliminates the need for crystals of the target compound. An important limitation for the application of the crystalline sponge method is the instability of the available crystalline sponges that can act as host crystals. The host crystal that is most often used decomposes in protic or nucleophilic solvents, or when guest molecules with Lewis basic substituents are introduced. Here a new class of (water) stable host crystals based on f-block metals is disclosed. It can be shown that these hosts not only increase the scope of the crystalline sponge method to a wider array of solvents and guests, but that they can even be applied to aqueous solutions containing hydrophilic guest molecules, thereby extending the crystalline sponge method to the important field of water-based chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14999-15003
Number of pages5
JournalChemistry: a European journal
Issue number65
Early online date23 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2019


  • absorption
  • crystalline sponge method
  • lanthanides
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • structure elucidation

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