A contorted nanographene shelter

Huang Wu, Yu Wang, Bo Song, Hui Juan Wang, Jiawang Zhou, Yixun Sun, Leighton O. Jones, Wenqi Liu, Long Zhang, Xuan Zhang, Kang Cai, Xiao Yang Chen, Charlotte L. Stern, Junfa Wei, Omar K. Farha, Jessica M. Anna, George C. Schatz, Yu Liu*, J. Fraser Stoddart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Nanographenes have kindled considerable interest in the fields of materials science and supramolecular chemistry as a result of their unique self-assembling and optoelectronic properties. Encapsulating the contorted nanographenes inside artificial receptors, however, remains challenging. Herein, we report the design and synthesis of a trigonal prismatic hexacationic cage, which has a large cavity and adopts a relatively flexible conformation. It serves as a receptor, not only for planar coronene, but also for contorted nanographene derivatives with diameters of approximately 15 Å and thicknesses of 7 Å. A comprehensive investigation of the host-guest interactions in the solid, solution and gaseous states by experimentation and theoretical calculations reveals collectively an induced-fit binding mechanism with high binding affinities between the cage and the nanographenes. Notably, the photostability of the nanographenes is improved significantly by the ultrafast deactivation of their excited states within the cage. Encapsulating the contorted nanographenes inside the cage provides a noncovalent strategy for regulating their photoreactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5191
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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