De Bo

Institution name and department

University of Manchester, Department of Chemistry

Position held


Royal Society University Research Fellow



Chemistry Building, Oxford Road, M13 9PL, Manchester, UK




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Key words 


·       Polymer mechanochemistry

·       Catenane


·       Mechanophore



·       Rotaxane



Areas of Research/Expertise 

 Our research aims at controlling mechanical force at the molecular level for application in synthetic chemistry, materials and biology. We focus on the design of new mechanophores, and the use of mechanical bonds (catenane, rotaxane) to promote unsual mechanochemical processes. We investigate our systems in silico, with the CoGEF technique, and in solution, by ultrasonic activation of polymer chain-centered mechanophores. 

5 Most representative publications related to mechanochemistry 

(1)      Zhang, M.; De Bo, G. A Catenane as a Mechanical Protecting Group. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142 (11), 5029–5033. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c01757

(2)      Stevenson, R.; Zhang, M.; De Bo, G. Mechanical Activation of Polymers Containing Two Adjacent Mechanophores. Polym. Chem. 2020, 11 (16), 2864–2868. DOI: 10.1039/D0PY00279H

(3)      Zhang, M.; De Bo, G. Mechanical Susceptibility of a Rotaxane. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141 (40), 15879–15883. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b06960

(4)      Zhang, M.; De Bo, G. Impact of a Mechanical Bond on the Activation of a Mechanophore. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140 (40), 12724–12727. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b08590

(5)      Stevenson, R.; De Bo, G. Controlling Reactivity by Geometry in Retro-Diels–Alder Reactions Under Tension. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (46), 16768–16771. DOI : 10.1021/jacs.7b08895

5 Most representative publications non-related to Mechanochemistry 

(1)  De Bo, G.; Gall, M. A. Y.; Kuschel, S.; De Winter, J.; Gerbaux, P.; Leigh, D. A. An Artificial Molecular Machine That Builds an Asymmetric Catalyst. Nat. Nanotech. 2018, 13 (5), 381–385. DOI: 10.1038/s41565-018-0105-3

(2)  De Bo, G.; Gall, M. A. Y.; Kitching, M. O.; Kuschel, S.; Leigh, D. A.; Tetlow, D. J.; Ward, J. W. Sequence-Specific Β-Peptide Synthesis by a Rotaxane-Based Molecular Machine. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (31), 10875–10879. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b05850

(3)  De Bo, G.; Dolphijn, G.; McTernan, C. T.; Leigh, D. A. [2]Rotaxane Formation by Transition State Stabilization. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (25), 8455–8457. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b05640

(4)  De Bo, G.; Kuschel, S.; Leigh, D. A.; Lewandowski, B.; Papmeyer, M.; Ward, J. W. Efficient Assembly of Threaded Molecular Machines for Sequence-Specific Synthesis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136 (15), 5811–5814. DOI: 10.1021/ja5022415

(5)  Lewandowski, B.; De Bo, G.; Ward, J. W.; Papmeyer, M.; Kuschel, S.; Aldegunde, M. J.; Gramlich, P. M. E.; Heckmann, D.; Goldup, S. M.; D'Souza, D. M.; et al. Sequence-Specific Peptide Synthesis by an Artificial Small-Molecule Machine. Science 2013, 339 (6116), 189–193. DOI : 10.1126/science.1229753

Orcid ID/ Google Scholar/ Researchgate/ Scopus profiles

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Primary focus in mechanochemical research

-        Design of new mechanophores

-        Mechanochemistry with mechanical bonds

-        Investigation of mechanochemical transformations

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Contact Info

  • Université de Montpellier & Institut Charles Gerhardt de Montpellier (UMR 5253)
    c/o 8, Rue de l’Ecole Normale
    34296 Montpellier, Cedex 5 (France)

  • +33 (0)4 67 14 43 10
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COST Overview


EU COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020.



COST Action CA18112