Crystal engineering is making crystals with a purpose.

What this purpose could be depends on the motivations of the experimentalist and could be utilitarian, aesthetical or driven by curiosity, or a combination of these factors. Scientists have always dreamt of being able to obtain materials with desired properties starting from a knowledge of the properties of the molecular/ionic components of choice and of their spatial distribution and of the intermolecular interactions in the solid. ­

The number and type of useful crystalline materials that can be, at least in principle, obtained on the basis of the crystal engineering paradigm is limited only by the imagination of the “crystal maker”, and the applications span from pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, to nutraceuticals and cosmetics, from chiral resolution to solid solutions, from photoelectronics to solid state photoreactivity, and imply the ability to prepare and characterize molecular materials, molecular salts, cocrystals, coordination polymers and metal organic frameworks.

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