Dual-mode "co-conformational" switching in catenanes incorporating bipyridinium and dialkylammonium recognition sites

Peter R. Ashton, Virna Baldoni, Vincenzo Balzani, Alberto Credi, H. D.Andreas Hoffmann, Maria Victoria Martínez-Díaz, Francisco M. Raymo, J. Fraser Stoddart, Margherita Venturi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Three [2]catenanes and three [3]catenanes incorporating one or two π-electron-rich macrocyclic polyethers and one π-electron-deficient polycationic cyclophane have been synthesized in yields ranging from 4 to 38%. The π-electron-rich macrocyclic components possess either two 1,4-dioxybenzene or two 1,5-dioxynaphthalene recognition sites. The π-electron-deficient cyclophane components incorporate two bipyridinium and either one or two dialkylammonium recognition sites. The template-directed syntheses of these catenanes rely on i) π ··· π stacking interactions between the dioxyarene and bipyridinium recognition sites, ii) C-H ··· O hydrogen bonds between some of the bipyridinium hydrogen atoms and some of the polyether oxygen atoms, and iii) C-H ··· π interactions between some of the dioxyarene hydrogen atoms and the aromatic spacers separating the bipyridinium units. The six catenanes were characterized by mass spectrometry and by both 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy. The absorption spectra and the electrochemical properties of the catenanes have been investigated and compared with those exhibited by the component macrocycles and by related known catenanes. Broad and weak absorption bands in the visible region, originating from charge-transfer (CT) interactions between electron-donor and electron-acceptor units, have been observed. Such charge-transfer interactions are responsible for the quenching of the potentially fluorescent excited states of the aromatic units of the macrocyclic polyether components. The redox behavior of these novel compounds has been investigated and correlations among the observed redox potentials are illustrated and discussed. The catenanes undergo co-conformational switching upon one-electron reduction of the two bipyridinium units. One of them - in its reduced form - can be also switched by acid/base inputs and exhibits AND logic behavior. The co-conformational rearrangements induced by the redox and acid/base stimulations lend themselves to exploitation in the development of molecular-level machines and logic gates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3482-3493
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 17 2001


  • Catenanes
  • Cyclophanes
  • Electrochemistry
  • Molecular machines
  • Template synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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