Axially chiral catenanes and π-electron-deficient receptors

Masumi Asakawa, Peter R. Ashton, Sue E. Boyd, Christopher L. Brown, Stephan Menzer, Dario Pasini, J. Fraser Stoddart*, Malcolm S. Tolley, Andrew J P White, David J. Williams, Paul G. Wyatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The design of a new class of chiral [2]catenanes is reported. The self-assembly of [2]catenanes comprising one or two 3,3'-biotyl spacers in the π-electron-deficient component, and bis-p-phenylene-34-crown-10 (BPP34C10) as the π-electron-rich component, is described. The X-ray crystal structures, together with solution-state dynamic 1H NMR spectroscopic studies, show that the degree of order characterizing the molecular structures is substantially different from that of the 'parent' [2]-catenane, comprising cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene) and BPP 34 C10. When appropriately substituted in their ortho positions, bitolyl compounds can support axial chirality; the self-assembly of axially chiral [2]catenanes, comprising one or two 3,3'-disubstituted-2,2'-dihydroxy-1,1'-binaphthyl spacers, has been achieved in good yields, showing that the introduction of the bulky, axially chiral spacer and the consequent distortion of the cavity of the π-electron-deficient component still permits good molecular recognition between the components leading to efficient catenane production. X-ray crystallography suggests that this recognition is driven by hydrogen bonding and π-π stacking interactions between the complementary subunits. The hydroxyl groups on the chiral spacer were further functionalized as benzoyl esters in a [2]catenane as well as in the tetracationic cyclophanes; that is, chemistry can be done of these catenanes. The chiral tetracationic cyclophanes exhibit good enantiomeric differentiation toward the D- and L-enantiomers of aromatic amino acids in water and their N-acetylated derivatives in organic solvents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-481
Number of pages19
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • catenanes
  • chirality
  • enantio-selection
  • receptors
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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