A molecular plug - socket connector

Guillaume Rogez, Belén Ferrer Ribera, Alberto Credi*, Roberto Ballardini, Maria Teresa Gandolfi, Vincenzo Balzani, Yi Liu, Brian H. Northrop, J. Fraser Stoddart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


A monocationic plug-socket connector that is composed, at the molecular level, of three components, (1) a secondary dialkylammonium center (CH 2NH2+CH2), which can play the role of a plug toward dibenzo[24]crown-8 (DB24C8), (2) a rigid and conducting biphenyl spacer, and (3) 1,4-benzo-1,5-naphtho[36]crown-10 (BN36C10), capable of playing the role of a socket toward a 4,4′-bipyridinium dicationic plug, was synthesized and displays the ability to act as a plug-socket connector. The fluorescent signal changes associated with the 1,5-dioxynaphthalene unit of its BN36C10 portion were monitored to investigate the association of this plug-socket connector with the complementary socket and plug compounds. The results indicate that (1) the CH2NH2+CH 2 part of the molecular connector can thread DB24C8 in a trivial manner and (2) the BN36C10 ring of the connector can be threaded by a 1,1′-dioctyl-4,4′-bipyridinium ion only after the CH 2NH2+CH2 site is occupied by a DB24C8 ring. The two connections of the three-component assembly are shown to be controlled reversibly by acid/base and red/ox external inputs, respectively. The results obtained represent a key step for the design and construction of a self-assembling supramolecular system in which the molecular electron source can be connected to the molecular electron drain by a molecular elongation cable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4633-4642
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 18 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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