The rational design of wholly synthetic receptors that bind active substrates with ultrahigh affinities is a challenging goal, especially in water. Here, we report the synthesis of a tricyclic octacationic cyclophane, which exhibits complementary stereoelectronic binding toward a widely used fluorescent dye, perylene diimide, with picomolar affinity in water. The ultrahigh binding affinity is sustained by a large and rigid hydrophobic binding surface, which provides a highly favorable enthalpy and a slightly positive entropy of complexation. The receptor-substrate complex shows significant improvement in optical properties, including red-shifted absorption and emission, turn-on fluorescence, and efficient energy transfer. An unusual single-excitation, dual-emission, imaging study of living cells was performed by taking advantage of a large pseudo-Stokes shift, produced by the efficient energy transfer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry