Donor-acceptor oligorotaxanes made to order

Subhadeep Basu, Ali Coskun, Douglas C. Friedman, Mark A. Olson, Diego Benítez, Ekaterina Tkatchouk, Gokhan Barin, Jeffrey Yang, Albert C. Fahrenbach, William A. Goddard, J. Fraser Stoddart

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51 Scopus citations


Five donor-acceptor oligorotaxanes made up of dumbbells composed of tetraethylene glycol chains, interspersed with three and five 1,5-dioxynaphthalene units, and terminated by 2,6-diisopropylphenoxy stoppers, have been prepared by the threading of discrete numbers of cyclobis(paraquat-p- phenylene) rings, followed by a kinetically controlled stoppering protocol that relies on click chemistry. The well-known copper(I)-catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloaddition between azide functions placed at the ends of the polyether chains and alkyne-bearing stopper precursors was employed during the final kinetically controlled template-directed synthesis of the five oligorotaxanes, which were characterized subsequently by 1HaNMR spectroscopy at low temperature (233aK) in deuterated acetonitrile. The secondary structures, as well as the conformations, of the five oligorotaxanes were unraveled by spectroscopic comparison with the dumbbell and ring components. By focusing attention on the changes in chemical shifts of some key probe protons, obtained from a wide range of low-temperature spectra, a picture emerges of a high degree of folding within the thread protons of the dumbbells of four of the five oligorotaxanesa the fifth oligorotaxane represents a control compound in effecta brought about by a combination of Ci-H···O and π-π stacking interactions between the π-electron-deficient bipyridinium units in the rings and the π-electron-rich 1,5-dioxynaphthalene units and polyether chains in the dumbbells. The secondary structures of a foldamer-like nature have received further support from a solid-state superstructure of a related [3]pseudorotaxane and density functional calculations performed thereon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2107-2119
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 11 2011


  • folding
  • noncovalent bonding interactions
  • oligomers
  • rotaxanes
  • template-directed syntheses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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