Selective Photodimerization in a Cyclodextrin Metal-Organic Framework

Xiao Yang Chen, Haoyuan Chen, Luka Dordević, Qing Hui Guo, Huang Wu, Yu Wang, Long Zhang, Yang Jiao, Kang Cai, Hongliang Chen, Charlotte L. Stern, Samuel I. Stupp, Randall Q. Snurr, Dengke Shen*, J. Fraser Stoddart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


For the most part, enzymes contain one active site wherein they catalyze in a serial manner chemical reactions between substrates both efficiently and rapidly. Imagine if a situation could be created within a chiral porous crystal containing trillions of active sites where substrates can reside in vast numbers before being converted in parallel into products. Here, we report how it is possible to incorporate 1-anthracenecarboxylate (1-AC-) as a substrate into a γ-cyclodextrin-containing metal-organic framework (CD-MOF-1), where the metals are K+ cations, prior to carrying out [4+4] photodimerizations between pairs of substrate molecules, affording selectively one of four possible regioisomers. One of the high-yielding regioisomers exhibits optical activity as a result of the presence of an 8:1 ratio of the two enantiomers following separation by high-performance liquid chromatography. The solid-state superstructure of 1-anthracenecarboxylate potassium salt (1-ACK), which is co-crystallized with γ-cyclodextrin, reveals that pairs of substrate molecules are not only packed inside tunnels between spherical cavities present in CD-MOF-1, but also stabilized - in addition to hydrogen-bonding to the C-2 and C-3 hydroxyl groups on the d-glucopyranosyl residues present in the γ-cyclodextrin tori - by combinations of hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions between the carboxyl groups in 1-AC- and four K+ cations on the waistline between the two γ-cyclodextrin tori in the tunnels. These non-covalent bonding interactions result in preferred co-conformations that account for the highly regio- and enantioselective [4+4] cycloaddition during photoirradiation. Theoretical calculations, in conjunction with crystallography, support the regio- and stereochemical outcome of the photodimerization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9129-9139
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 23 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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