skip to content


Interdisciplinary Research Centre


Following undergraduate studies in the US at Williams College and graduate studies in U. C. Berkeley, Dr Nitschke undertook postdoctoral studies in France with Jean-Marie Lehn, and then started an independent research career at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) in 2001. The group has been based at the University of Cambridge since November 2007.


We use chemical self-assembly to create complex structures with targeted functions from simple building blocks. Many of these structures have relevance in the context of energy:

  • Molecular wires - conjugated, metal containing polymeric materials whose properties as conductors and luminescent materials are currently under study
  • Polyhedral capsules, which have been shown to reversibly bind sulfur hexafluoride, the 'worst' greenhouse gas.
  • Chemical systems, within which we are investigating how molecular subcomponents might be passed from one molecule to another to effect energy transfer, as biomolecules do with phosphate groups.


Key publications: 

1.   “Fluorophore incorporation allows nanomolar guest sensing and white-light emission in M4L6 cage complexes”, P.P. Neelakandan, A. Jiménez, J.R. Nitschke, Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 908-915.

2.   “A self-organizing chemical assembly line”, A.G. Salles Jr., S. Zarra, R.M. Turner, J.R. Nitschke,  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 19143-19146.

3. “Bidirectional regulation of halide binding in a hetero-metallic supramolecular cube”, W.J. Ramsay, T.K. Ronson, J.K. Clegg, J.R. Nitschke, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 13439-13443.

4. “A self-assembled FeII12L12 capsule with an icosahedral framework”, R.A. Bilbeisi, T.K. Ronson, J.R. Nitschke, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 9027-9030.

5. “Enantiopure water-soluble Fe4L6 cages: host-guest chemistry and catalytic activity”, Jeanne L. Bolliger, Ana M. Belenguer, J.R. Nitschke, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 7958-7962. 

6. “Aqueous self-assembly of an electroluminescent double-helical metallo-polymer”, X. de Hatten,  D. Asil, R.H. Friend, J.R. Nitschke,  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 135, 19170-19178.

7. “Anion-induced reconstitution of a self-assembling system to express a chloride-binding Co10L15 pentagonal prism”, I.A. Riddell, M.M.J. Smulders, J.K. Clegg, Y.R. Hristova, B. Breiner, J.D. Thoburn, J.R. Nitschke, Nature Chem. 2012, 51, 751-756.

8. “Encapsulation, storage and controlled release of sulfur hexafluoride from a metal-organic capsule”, I.A. Riddell, M.M.J. Smulders, J.K. Clegg, J.R. Nitschke, Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 457-459.

9.    “Cascading transformations within a dynamic self-assembled system”, V.E. Campbell, X. de Hatten,  N. Delsuc, B. Kauffmann, I. Huc and J.R. Nitschke, Nature Chem. 2010, 2, 684-687.

10.    “Systems chemistry: Molecular networks come of age” J.R. Nitschke, Nature 2009, 462, 736-738.

11.    “White phosphorus is air-stable within a self-assembled tetrahedral capsule” P. Mal, B. Breiner, K. Rissanen and J.R. Nitschke, Science 2009, 324, 1697-1699.

University Professor
EPSRC Leadership Fellow
Professor Jonathan R. Nitschke

Contact Details

Available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: