Monovalent Cation–Phenolic Crystals with pH-Driven Reversible Crystal Transformation

Ranwen Ou, Jing Wei, Chen Zhao, Qinfen Gu, Haijin Zhu, Xingya Li, Nhi Sa Nguyen, Li Wan, Maria Forsyth, Huanting Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The conversion of renewable plant polyphenol to advanced materials with tailorable properties and various functions is desirable and challenging. In this work, monovalent cation-phenolic crystals contained K+ or Na+ ions were synthesized by using plant polyphenol as an organic source in alkaline solution. The crystal structure was resolved, showing a laminar crystal structure with M+ as connecting nodes. The morphologies (e.g., rod-like and spindle-shaped) and chemical compositions of crystals could be tuned by changing the cations. Interestingly, these polymer crystals exhibited a pH-driven reversible crystal transformation. They transformed into their protonated crystalline form under acidic conditions (e.g., pH 2) and went back to the cation-bound crystalline form in alkaline solutions. Furthermore, the crystals proved excellent antioxidants and heavy metal ion adsorbents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12281-12287
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number53
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cations
  • crystal engineering
  • pH dependence
  • polymer crystal
  • tannic acid


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