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Hydrocarbons Depending on the Chain Length and Head Group Adopt Different Conformations within a Water-Soluble Nanocapsule: 1H NMR and Molecular Dynamics Studies

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posted on 20.02.2016, 01:56 by Rajib Choudhury, Arghya Barman, Rajeev Prabhakar, V. Ramamurthy
In this study we have examined the conformational preference of phenyl-substituted hydrocarbons (alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes) of different chain lengths included within a confined space provided by a molecular capsule made of two host cavitands known by the trivial name “octa acid” (OA). One- and two-dimensional 1H NMR experiments and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were employed to probe the location and conformation of hydrocarbons within the OA capsule. In general, small hydrocarbons adopted a linear conformation while longer ones preferred a folded conformation. In addition, the extent of folding and the location of the end groups (methyl and phenyl) were dependent on the group (H2C–CH2, HCCH, and CC) adjacent to the phenyl group. In addition, the rotational mobility of the hydrocarbons within the capsule varied; for example, while phenylated alkanes tumbled freely, phenylated alkenes and alkynes resisted such a motion at room temperature. Combined NMR and MD simulation studies have confirmed that molecules could adopt conformations within confined spaces different from that in solution, opening opportunities to modulate chemical behavior of guest molecules.