Solvent effects in thermodynamically controlled multicomponent nanocage syntheses

Xuejun Liu, Ralf Warmuth

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145 Scopus citations


The solvent effects on the condensation reaction between tetraformylcavitand 2 and ethylene-1,2-diamine 3 are reported. Earlier, it was found that the trifluoroacetic acid-catalyzed condensation of 2 and 2 equiv of 3 in CHCl3 provides in 82% yield an octahedral nanocage 1 composed of 6 cavitands that are linked together by 12 -CH=N-CH2CH 2-N=CH- linker groups (Liu, X.; Liu, Y.; Li, G.; Warmuth, R. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 901). In tetrahydrofuran, the same reactants yield a tetrameric nanocage 4 (35% yield), which resembles a distorted tetrahedron built up from four cavitands that occupy the apexes. Each cavitand is doubly linked to one other cavitand and singly linked to the other two cavitands via -CH= N-CH2CH2N=CH- connectors. In CH2Cl2, the reaction between 8 2 and 16 3 yields a square antiprismatic nanocage 5 (65% yield), in which each cavitand occupies one of the eight corners and is connected to four neighboring cavitands via -CH=N-CH2CH 2-N=CH- linkers. Nanocage 5 is also the main product in CH 2ClCH2Cl (26% yield) and CHCl2CHCl2 (33% yield). Reduction of all imine bonds in 4 and 5 yields polyaminonanocontainers 7 and 8, respectively, which were isolated as trifluoroacetate salts. Contrary to the formation of larger capsules composed of four, six, or eight cavitands in the reaction between 2 and 3, the acid-catalyzed reaction of 2 with 2 equiv of H2N-X-NH2 (X = (CH2)n=3,4,5, 1,3-C6H4, 1,4-(CH2)2C6H4, or 1,3-(CH 2)2C6H4) quantitatively yields octaiminohemicarcerands 9-14, in which two cavitands are connected with four -CH=N-X-N=CH- linkers. The outcomes of these condensation reactions are rationalized with the different diamine structures and the relative orientation of cavitands in 1, 4, 5, and 9-14.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14120-14127
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number43
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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