On the small scale, polymer chains are ‘molecular threads’ that can be controllably manipulated into various complex topologies. Extending this idea to achieve a molecular fabric—in which individual chains are woven in two dimensions—provides an intriguing synthetic challenge. Here, David Leigh and colleagues demonstrate that woven polymer patches can be formed through the templating power of metal ions. Crystallizing into discrete layers, individual patches are joined together through the polymerization of thiol chain ends. Removal of the metal templating species yields a fully woven, two-dimensional, molecular patchwork. This approach offers new opportunities in the development of ever-more-complex supramolecular architectures.
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