Thermodynamics of Halide Binding to a Neutral Bambusuril in Water and Organic Solvents

Driving forces of anion binding in water in contrast to nonpolar environments are of high interest because of their relevance to biology and medicine. Here we report a neutral bambusuril macrocycle (1), soluble in both water and nonpolar solvents due to decoration with 12 polyethylene glycol-based substituents. The new bambusuril has the highest affinity for I in pure water ever reported for a synthetic macrocycle relying on hydrogen bonding interactions rather than metal coordination or Coulombic forces. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiments in nine different solvents, ranging from polar water to nonpolar carbon tetrachloride, provided insight into the forces responsible for halide binding by bambusurils. The different importance of anion solvation and solvent expulsion from the cavity of the macrocycle in various solvents is illustrated by the fact that halide binding in water and chloroform is exclusively driven by favorable enthalpy with an entropic penalty, while in alcohols and nonpolar solvents, both favorable enthalpy and entropy contribute to anion encapsulation. DFT calculations and correlation of thermodynamic data with the solvent Swain acity parameter further underscore the importance of solvent effects on anion binding by bambusurils.