Hydrogen-Bond-Assisted Symmetry Breaking in a Network of Chiral Metal–Organic Assemblies

Herein we elucidate the interplay of chiral, chelate, solvent, and hydrogen–bonding information in the self-assembly of a series of new three-dimensional metal–organic architectures. Enantiopure ligands, each containing H-bond donors and acceptors, form different structures, depending on the ratio in which they are combined: enantiopure components form M4L4 assemblies, whereas racemic mixtures form M3L3 stacks. Chiral amplification within M3L3 enantiomers was observed when a 2:1 ratio of R and S subcomponent enantiomers was employed. Simply switching the solvent (from MeCN to MeOH) or chelating unit (from bidentate to tridentate) increased the diversity of structures that can be generated from these building blocks, leading to the selective formation of novel M2L2 and M3L2 assemblies. The addition of achiral ligand building blocks resulted in the formation of further structures: When an achiral subcomponent was combined with its R and S chiral congeners, a three-layer heteroleptic architecture was generated, with the achiral unit sitting at the top of the stack. When combined with the S enantiomer only, however, the achiral unit assembled in the center of the structure, thus demonstrating the selective placement of achiral units within chiral systems. Further sorting experiments revealed that combining R and S stereocenters within a single ligand led to diastereoselective product generation. These results show how geometric complementarity between different ligands impacts upon the degree of hydrogen-bonding within the assembly, stabilizing specific low-symmetry architectures from among many possible structural outcomes.