Cyclobis(paraquat-4,4'-biphenylene) - An organic molecular square

M. Asakawa, P. R. Ashton, S. Menzer, F. M. Raymo, J. F. Stoddart, A. J.P. White, D. J. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Template-directed syntheses of cyclobis(paraquate-4,4'- biphenylene) (1) a molecular square have been achieved by use of π-electron-rich macrocyclic hydroquinone-based and acyclic ferrocene-based templates. In particular, the use of a polyether-disubstituted ferrocene derivative as a template permits synthesis of 1 (which is accessible only in very low yields without templates) on a preparative scale. Furthermore, the use of a macrocyclic hydroquinone-based polyether template incorporating an ester function in one polyether chain an 'oriented' macrocycle affords a 1:1 mixture of two topolocally stereoisomeric [3]catenanes. Ester hydrolysis of the π- electron-rich macrocyclic components mechanically interlocked with 1 within the catenated structures releases the tetracationic cyclophane in quantitative yield as a result of the degradation of the [3]catenanes. The molecular square has been characterized by X-ray crystallography. FAB mass spectrometry, 1H NMR and 13C NMR spectroscopies, and elemental analysis. The binding properties of 1 and of the smaller cyclophane cyclobis(paraquat- p-phenylene) toward a series of π-electron-rich guests have also been investigated with the above techniques and UV/VIS spectroscopy. The self- assembly of the resulting supramolecular complexes in solution and in the solid state is driven mainly by π π stacking interactions and hydrogen- bonding interactions, as well as by edge-to-face T-type interactions. In particular, the complexation of ferrocene or a ferrocene-based derivative within the cavity of 1 suggests the possibility of constructing functioning ferrocene-based molecular and supramolecular devices that can be controlled electrochemically in the form of catenanes, rotaxanes, and pseudorotaxanes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-893
Number of pages17
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition in English
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • catenanes
  • second-sphere coordination
  • self-assembly
  • template syntheses
  • topological stereoisomerism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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