Switching of pseudorotaxanes and catenanes incorporating a tetrathiafulvalene unit by redox and chemical inputs

Vincenzo Balzani, Alberto Credi, Gunter Mattersteig, Owen A. Matthews, Françisco M. Raymo, J. Fraser Stoddart*, Margherita Venturi, Andrew J P White, David J. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


An acyclic polyether 1a, incorporating a central tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) electron donor unit and two 4-tert-butylphenoxy groups at its termini, has been synthesized. Two macrocyclic polyethers containing two different electron donors, namely a TTF unit with, in one case, a 1,4-dioxybenzene ring (2a), and, in the other case (2b), a 1,5-dioxynaphthalene ring system, have also been synthesized. These two macrocyclic polyethers have been mechanically interlocked in kinetically controlled template-directed syntheses with cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene) cyclophane (34+) to afford the [2]catenanes 2a/34+ and 2b/34+, respectively. X-ray crystallography reveals that the [2]catenane 2b/34+ has the TTF unit of 2b located inside the cavity of 34+. The spectroscopic (UV/vis and 1H NMR) and electrochemical properties of compounds 1a, 2a, 2b, 2a/34+, and 2b/34+ and of the [2]pseudorotaxane 1a·34+ were investigated. The absorption and emission properties of the mono- and dioxidized forms of the TTF unit in these various species have also been studied. The results obtained in acetonitrile solution can be summarized as follows. (a) While TTF2+ exhibits a strong fluorescence, no emission can be observed for the TTF2+ units contained in the polyethers and in their pseudorotaxanes and catenanes. (b) A donor-acceptor absorption band is observed upon two-electron oxidation of the TTF unit in the macrocyclic polyethers 2a and 2b. (c) The spontaneous self-assembly of 1a and 34+ to give the [2]pseudorotaxane 1a·34+ is strongly favored (K(ass.) = 5 x 105 L mol-1) but slow (at 296 K, k = 11.3 L mol-1 s-1 and ΔG* = 15.9 kcal mol-1) because of the steric hindrance associated with the bulky end groups of 1a. (d) In the pseudorotaxane 1a.34+, the reversible displacement of the cyclophane from the TTF unit in the threadlike substrate occurs on oxidation/reduction of its electroactive components. (e) Switching between the two translational isomers of the catenanes 2a/34+ and 25/34+ occurs by cyclic oxidation and reduction of the TTF unit contained in 2a and in 2b, respectively. (f) Addition of o-chloroanil to the pseudorotaxane 1a·34+ and to the catenanes 2a/34+ and 2b/34+ causes the displacement of the TTF unit from the cavity of the cyclophane 34+ because of the formation of an adduct between the TTF unit and o-chloroanil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1924-1936
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 7 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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