Perylene Diimide Triple Helix Formation in the Solid State

The structural characterization of single crystals of di-4-pyridyl-substituted 3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic diimide reveals a surprising triple helical arrangement. The intermolecular interactions that lead to such an arrangement are investigated by Hirshfeld surface analysis and indicate that the supramolecular structure arises due to a combination of C–H···O interactions and π–π stacking interactions between adjacent perylene diimide (PDI) species. The interplay of these interactions leads to the formation of a tubular structure enclosed by the triple helix of PDI molecules. In contrast, the analogous phenyl-substituted molecule forms a simple one-dimensional stack of PDI molecules which is also unusual in that the perylene core adopts an essentially planar arrangement despite bay substitution.