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Prof Luigi Nassimbeni
  +27 (0)21 650 5893
  6.14, PD Hahn building, upper campus


  • Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar
  • Co–editor, Acta Crystallographica, J. Chemical Crystallography, J. Inclusion Phenomena, Crystal Engineering
  • Fellow (UCT), Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, CChem, FRSC, MSACI.
  • PhD, University of Cape Town, RSA
  • MSc, University of Rhodes, RSA

Research Interests

Research in chemical crystallography is broadly based and a variety of problems in both inorganic and organic chemistry are presently under investigation.Currently there are four staff members and ten postgraduate students working in crystallography and supramolecular chemistry. We are very well equipped with a variety of single crystal goniometers, modern diffractometers and good computing facilities.The main thrust of the research is in the field of inclusion compounds. We are investigating the structure and thermal stability of a variety of host-guest compounds. Molecular inclusion chemistry has become an important technique for the separation of close structural isomers and for the optical resolution of chiral compounds.Host:guest ratios are established by a variety of techniques, including thermal gravimetry, NMR and density measurements, while the strength of host–guest interaction is measured by differential thermal calorimetry. Thermal measurements are correlated with structural results obtained by X-ray diffraction and molecular mechanics calculations.

We collaborate with a number of other research groups both at UCT and at other centres in South Africa. We also enjoy close ties with various groups overseas: Dr F. Allen (Cambridge), Prof A. Gavezzotti (Milan), Prof J. Lipkowski (Warsaw), Prof G. M. Sheldrick (Gottingen), Prof F. Toda (Ehime, Japan), Prof E. Weber (Freiberg) and Prof G. Desiraju (Hyderabad, India).

Representative Publications

  1. Inclusion and separation of picoline isomers by a diol host compound. M. R. Caira, A. Horne, L. R. Nassimbeni, F. Toda. J Mater Chem. 7 (1997) 2145-2149.
  2. Selective Inclusion of aliphatic alcohols by a diol host compound. M. R. Caira, A. Horne, L. R. Nassimbeni, F. Toda J. Mater. Chem. 8 (1998) 1481–1484.
  3. Inclusion compounds: kinetics and selectivity. L. R. Nassimbeni in Molecular Recognition and Inclusion, (Ed. A W Coleman) Kluwer Academic Publishers (1998) 135-152.
  4. Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Crystalline Inclusion Compounds. L. R. Nassimbeni in Crystal Engineering: From Molecules and Crystals to Materials, (Ed. D Braga and A G Orpen) Kluwer Academic Publishers (1999) 163–179.
  5. Complexation with diol host compounds. Part 32. Separation of lutidine isomers by 1,1,6,6-tetraphenylhexa-2,4-diyne-1,6-diol. M. R. Caira, L. R. Nassimbeni, F. Toda, D. Vujovic. J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 2. (1999) 2681-2684.
  6. Inclusion of Aminobenzonitrile Isomers by a Diol Host Compound: Structure and Selectivity Mino R. Caira, Luigi R. Nassimbeni, Fumino Toda, and Dejana Vujovic J.Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 9367-9372
  7. Tunable Clathrates. Caira, M R, Le Roex, T, Nassimbeni, L R: Chem.Commun. 2128 – 2129, 2001.
  8. Inclusion compounds of binaphthol with volatile guests: structures, selectivity and kinetics of desolvation.
    Nassimbeni, L R, Su, H: New J. Chem., 26, 989-995, 2002.
  9. Physicochemical aspects of host-guest compounds. Nassimbeni L.R. Acc. Chem. Res., 36, 631-637, 2003.
  10. Inclusion of quinolines by binaphthol: structures and selectivity. Caira, M.R., Chang, P., Nassimbeni, L.R. and Su, H. Org.Biomol. Chem., 2, 655-659, 2004.
  11. Physicochemical studies of separation of isomers by supramolecular systems’ in Separations and Reactions in Organic Supramolecular Chemistry. Perspectives in Supramolecular Chemistry, Nassimbeni, L R: Volume 8, Ed. F Toda and R Bishop, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 123 – 135, 2004.
  12. Selective Enclathration of Picolines. Bourne, S A, Corin, K C, Nassimbeni, L R and Toda F: Crystal Growth and Design, 5(1),379-382, 2005.