The crystalline sponge method presents new possibilities for the determination of structure by single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. By utilizing the crystalline structure of a porous host material, guest analytes may be absorbed by into the pores of the host and thus have the crystallinity of the host imposed upon them. This approach enables the structure determination of analytes previously inaccessible to X-ray crystallography such as liquids, gases and low- availability compounds.
In the case of this application note, the crystalline sponge method was applied to gas phase analytes. In many industries, detection and identification of an analyte in the gas phase analytes is the only possibility and typically precludes direct observation of 3D structure. To demonstrate the capabilities of this technique, several odours were captured with crystalline sponges and their structures determined.