From the Loom to the Laboratory: Molecular Textiles


  • Alfredo Di Silvestro Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, St. Johanns-Ring 19, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
  • Marcel Mayor Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, St. Johanns-Ring 19, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland; Institute for Nanotechnology (INT), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), P. O. Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany; Lehn Institute of Functional Materials (LIFM), School of Chemistry, Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU), Guangzhou 510275, China;, Email:



2d polymer, Interwoven network, Molecular textile, Molecular fabrics, Molecular weave


Weaving is an old technique producing fabric materials by interlocking yarns, which we appreciate every day by wearing textiles. The splendid mechanical features of these macroscopic interwoven structures such as stability, flexibility, and shape adaptability raised the question whether or not such properties might also be observed on a molecular level. In this article, molecular analogues to textiles are discussed and strategies to molecular weaves are presented. While there are impressive structural similarities between the macroscopic and the molecular world, molecular textiles consisting of interwoven linear polymers remain a challenge. The scope of the article ranges from discrete superstructures like Solomon knots, over deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) based nanoscale patterns and interwoven 2D sheets of coordination polymers, to weaving strategies interlinking small organic precursors.




How to Cite

A. Di Silvestro, M. Mayor, Chimia 2019, 73, 455, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2019.455.



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