Radical Cyclic [3]Daisy Chains

Kang Cai, Binbin Cui, Bo Song, Heng Wang, Yunyan Qiu, Leighton O. Jones, Wenqi Liu, Yi Shi, Suneal Vemuri, Dengke Shen, Tianyu Jiao, Long Zhang, Huang Wu, Hongliang Chen, Yang Jiao, Yu Wang, Charlotte L. Stern, Hao Li, George C. Schatz, Xiaopeng LiJ. Fraser Stoddart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) that undergo controllable internal motions of their component parts in more than one dimension are rare entities in the molecular world. Cyclic [2]daisy chains ([c2]DCs) are a class of MIMs that have been identified as prototypes for molecular muscles. It remains, however, a challenge to synthesize [cn]DCs with n > 2 selectively and efficiently. Herein, we report the design and synthesis of [c3]DCs employing radical and anionic templates. Two mechanically interlocked [c3]DCs with 18 positive charges were obtained in >90% yields. One [c3]DC displayed good air stability in its radical cationic form, while the other underwent reversible “co-conformational” switching between open macrocyclic and closed trisarm-shaped forms under electrochemical control. These findings provide not only two-dimensional MIMs with attractive electronic and switchable properties, but also a starting point for the design of extended molecular arrays, which could become the forerunners of adjustable molecular nets and breathable molecular membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-189
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2021


  • SDG9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • anion templation
  • cyclic macromolecules
  • mechanically interlocked molecules
  • molecular daisy chains
  • radical chemistry
  • redox-controlled switching
  • supramolecular daisy chains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Materials Chemistry


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