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Templated Synthesis of Cyclic [4]Rotaxanes Consisting of Two Stiff Rods Threaded through Two Bis-macrocycles with a Large and Rigid Central Plate as Spacer

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posted on 19.05.2010, 00:00 by Jean-Paul Collin, Fabien Durola, Julien Frey, Valérie Heitz, Felipe Reviriego, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Yann Trolez, Kari Rissanen
Two related cyclic [4]rotaxanes consisting of double macrocycles and rigid rods incorporating two bidentate chelates have each been prepared in high yield. The first step is a multigathering and threading reaction driven by coordination of two different bidentate chelates (part of either the rings or the rods) to each copper(I) center so as to afford the desired precursor. In both cases, the assembly step is done under very mild conditions, and it is quantitative. The second key reaction is the stopper-attaching reaction, based on click chemistry. Even if the quadruple stoppering reaction is not quantitative, it is relatively high-yielding (60% and 95%), and the copper-driven assembly process is carried out at room temperature without any aggressive reagent. The final copper-complexed [4]rotaxanes obtained contain two aromatic plates roughly parallel to one another located at the center of each bis-macrocycle. In the most promising case in terms of host−guest properties, the plates are zinc(II) porphyrins of the tetra-aryl series. The compounds have been fully characterized by various spectroscopic techniques (1H NMR, mass spectrometry, and electronic absorption spectroscopy). Unexpectedly, the copper-complexed porphyrinic [4]rotaxane could be crystallized as its 4PF6 salt to afford X-ray quality crystals. The structure obtained is in perfect agreement with the postulated chemical structure of the compound. It is particularly attractive in terms of symmetry and molecular aesthetics. The distance between the zinc atoms of the two porphyrins is 8.673 Å, which is sufficient to allow insertion between the two porphyrinic plates of small ditopic basic substrates able to interact with the central porphyrinic Zn atoms. This prediction has been confirmed by absorption spectroscopy measurements in the presence of various organic substrates. However, large substrates cannot be introduced in the corresponding recognition site and are thus complexed mostly in an exo fashion, being located outside the receptor cavity. Noteworthy, the stability constants of the 1:1 host−guest complexes are high (107 M−1).

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