Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Zaworotko, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gregory Baker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edward Turos, Ph.D.


crystal engineering, supramolecular chemistry, supramolecular synthons, Pharmaceuticals, hydrogen bonding


The synthesis or the interaction between two or more molecules is known as supramolecular chemistry. The concept of supramolecular chemistry can be applied to the design of new pharmaceutical materials affording new compositions of matter with desirable composition, structure and properties.

The design of a two-molecule, or binary, compound using complementary molecules represents an example of an application of crystal engineering. Crystal engineering is the understanding of intermolecular interactions, in the context of crystal packing, in the design of new solid materials. By identifying reliable connectors through molecular recognition or self-assembly, one can build predictable architectures.

The study of supramolecular synthesis was accomplished using known pharmaceutical molecules such as Nifedipine (calcium channel blocker used for cardiovascular diseases) and Phenytoin (used as an anticonvulsant drug) and model compounds containing synthons common in pharmaceutical drugs (Crown ethers and Trimesic acid with ether linkages and carboxylic acid dimers, respectively) with complementary molecular additives.

The co-crystals formed were characterized by various techniques (IR, m.p., XPD, single X-ray diffraction) and preliminary results were found to exhibit characteristics different from the parent compounds as a direct result of hydrogen bonding and self-assembly interactions. These crystalline assemblies could afford improved solubility, dissolution rate, stability and bioavailability.