Highly stable tetrathiafulvalene radical dimers in [3]catenanes

Jason M. Spruell, Ali Coskun, Douglas C. Friedman, Ross S. Forgan, Amy A. Sarjeant, Ali Trabolsi, Albert C. Fahrenbach, Gokhan Barin, Walter F. Paxton, Sanjeev K. Dey, Mark A. Olson, Diego Benítez, Ekaterina Tkatchouk, Michael T. Colvin, Raanan Carmielli, Stuart T. Caldwell, Georgina M. Rosair, Shanika Gunatilaka Hewage, Florence Duclairoir, Jennifer L. SeymourAlexandra M.Z. Slawin, William A. Goddard, Michael R. Wasielewski, Graeme Cooke*, J. Fraser Stoddart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Two [3]catenane 'molecular flasks' have been designed to create stabilized, redox-controlled tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) dimers, enabling their spectrophotometric and structural properties to be probed in detail. The mechanically interlocked framework of the [3]catenanes creates the ideal arrangement and ultrahigh local concentration for the encircled TTF units to form stable dimers associated with their discrete oxidation states. These dimerization events represent an affinity umpolung, wherein the inversion in electronic affinity replaces the traditional TTF-bipyridinium interaction, which is over-ridden by stabilizing mixed-valence (TTF)2 •+ and radical-cation (TTF •+)2 states inside the 'molecular flasks.' The experimental data, collected in the solid state as well as in solution under ambient conditions, together with supporting quantum mechanical calculations, are consistent with the formation of stabilized paramagnetic mixed-valence dimers, and then diamagnetic radical-cation dimers following subsequent one-electron oxidations of the [3]catenanes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-879
Number of pages10
JournalNature chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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