Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry

, Volume 30, Issue 9, pp 1654–1662 | Cite as

Topological Characterization of Coordination-Driven Self-assembly Complexes: Applications of Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry

  • Christopher S. Mallis
  • Manik Lal Saha
  • Peter J. Stang
  • David H. RussellEmail author
Research Article


Coordination-driven self-assembly (CDSA) is increasingly used to synthesize coordination complexes containing metal-centered electron acceptors and typically nitrogen-containing electron donors. Characterization of the structures obtained from CDSA via crystallographic or spectroscopic means is limited due to difficulties in forming single crystals for X-ray studies and overlapping precursor and product signals in NMR. Here, we employ ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS), which provides a direct measure of size and shape of the CDSA complexes, to study the intact reaction products of a rhomboid-shaped complex. This approach negates the need for product isolation and crystallization and allows for tracking of the product distribution as a function of time. A potential challenge of IM-MS is that the size/shape of the observed CDSA complexes can vary with internal energy; however, we show that proper tuning of the instrument reduces the effects of collisional activation thereby allowing for retention of ion conformations that reflect solution-phase ion structures.

Graphical Abstract


Ion mobility-mass spectrometry Coordination-driven self-assembly Supramolecular coordination complex 

Supplementary material

13361_2019_2276_MOESM1_ESM.docx (821 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 820 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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