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The rapid development of supramolecular chemistry provides a powerful bottom-up approach to construct various well-defined nano-architectures with increasing complexity and functionality. Compared to that of small and simple nanometric objects, the self-assembly of larger and more complex nanometric objects, such as nanocages, remains a significant challenge. Herein, we used a discrete nanocage as the monomer to successfully construct a novel three-dimensional (3D) supramolecular architecture, which comprises two types of nanocage building units with different connectivity, using the solvent-assisted coordination-driven assembly approach. The mechanism of this supramolecular assembly process was investigated by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) studies, which identified for the first time the formation of a nanocage dimer intermediate during the assembly process. The assembly of discrete nanocages into a 3D supramolecular architecture led to remarkable enhancement of stability and gas adsorption properties.

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Chemical Science, v. 10, issue 27, p. 6661-6665