Effects of side arm length and structure of para-substituted phenyl derivatives on their binding to the host cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene)

René Castro, Kendric R. Nixon, Jeffrey D. Evanseck, Angel E. Kaifer

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83 Scopus citations


The binding constants with the host cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene), 14+, have been determined in CH3CN by UV-vis spectrophotometry for a series of p-phenylene guests, symmetrically substituted with side arms of varying length and functionality. Semiempirical molecular orbital theory was employed to provide a detailed structural and energetic interpretation of the experimental binding data. In particular, the length of the side arms and the type and position of the heteroatoms on the side arms were systematically varied in order to understand the effects of external interactions on the association constants of the guests with host 14+. A large chelate effect involving the ethyleneoxy side arm oxygen atoms and a cooperative effect between the guest aromatic core and the side arms are significant factors which determine the binding with this host. Sequential ethyleneoxy linkages along the side arms markedly increase the binding constant with respect to a compound in which the same number of oxygens along the side arms are separated by longer aliphatic linkages. In addition, a multiplicative rather than additive effect on the binding constant is observed which demonstrates that the oxygen atoms exhibit a strong chelate effect. It was also discovered that while the side arms of these guests contribute most of the driving force for complexation, an aromatic core is necessary for the guest to reside in the cavity of the host. The binding of these guests then is dependent upon cooperation between the arms and the aromatic core. Furthermore, elongation of the central aromatic core with aliphatic side arms containing no heteroatoms leaves the association constant relatively unchanged and replacement of the oxygen atoms with sulfur markedly decreases the observed binding. These effects have been used to rationalize several observations regarding this system in the literature and may serve to improve the design of new supramolecular systems and to better understand the host/guest interaction process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7298-7303
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 18 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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