We describe the use of low-molecular-weight supramolecular gels as media for the growth of molecular crystals. Growth of a range of crystals of organic compounds, including pharmaceuticals, was achieved in bis(urea) gels. Low-molecular-weight supramolecular gelators allow access to an unlimited range of solvent systems, in contrast to conventional aqueous gels such as gelatin and agarose. A detailed study of carbamazepine crystal growth in four different bis(urea) gelators, including a metallogelator, is reported. The crystallization of a range of other drug substances, namely sparfloxacin, piroxicam, theophylline, caffeine, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (paracetamol), sulindac and indomethacin, was also achieved in supramolecular gel media without co-crystal formation. In many cases, crystals can be conveniently recovered from the gels by using supramolecular anion-triggered gel dissolution; however, crystals of substances that themselves bind to anions are dissolved by them. Overall, supramolecular gel-phase crystallization offers an extremely versatile new tool in pharmaceutical polymorph screening.
- MASS ORGANIC GELATORS