The Mechanical Bond: A Work of Art

  • Carson J. Bruns
  • J. Fraser StoddartEmail author
Part of the Topics in Current Chemistry book series (TOPCURRCHEM, volume 323)


Mechanically interlocked objects are ubiquitous in our world. They can be spotted on almost every scale of matter and in virtually every sector of society, spanning cultural, temporal, and physical boundaries the world over. From art to machinery, to biological entities and chemical compounds, mechanical interlocking is being used and admired every day, inspiring creativity and ingenuity in art and technology alike. The tiny world of mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs), which has been established and cultivated over the past few decades, has connected the ordinary and molecular worlds symbolically with creative research and artwork that subsumes the molecular world as a miniaturization of the ordinary one. In this review, we highlight how graphical representations of MIMs have evolved to this end, and discuss various other aspects of their beauty as chemists see them today. We argue that the many aspects of beauty in MIMs are relevant, not only to the pleasure chemists derive from their research, but also to the progress of the research itself.


Beauty Catenanes Chemical Topology Elegance Knots Rotaxane 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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