A template-directed protocol, which capitalizes on donor-acceptor interactions, is employed to synthesize a semi-rigid cyclophane (ExBox 4+) that adopts a box-like geometry and is comprised of π-electron-poor 1,4-phenylene-bridged ("extended") bipyridinium units (ExBIPY2+). ExBox4+ functions as a high-affinity scavenger of an array of different polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), ranging from two to seven fused rings, as a result of its large, accommodating cavity (approximately 3.5 Å in width and 11.2 Å in length when considering the van der Waals radii) and its ability to form strong non-covalent bonding interactions with π-electron-rich PAHs in either organic or aqueous media. In all, 11 PAH guests were observed to form inclusion complexes with ExBox4+, with coronene being the largest included guest. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction data for the 11 inclusion complexes ExBox 4+⊂PAH as well as UV/vis spectroscopic data for 10 of the complexes provide evidence of the promiscuity of ExBox4+ for the various PAHs. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetric analyses of 10 of the inclusion complexes are employed to further characterize the host-guest interactions in solution and determine the degree with which ExBox4+ binds each PAH compound. As a proof-of-concept, a batch of crude oil from Saudi Arabia was subjected to extraction with the water-soluble form of the PAH receptor, ExBox·4Cl, resulting in the isolation of different aromatic compounds after ExBox·4Cl was regenerated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry