Caterpillar track complexes in template-directed synthesis and correlated molecular motion.

Guzman Gil-Ramirez, Shiqi Liu, Dmitry V Kondratuk, Sophie A L Rousseaux, Guzmán Gil-Ramírez, Melanie C O'Sullivan, Jonathan Cremers, Tim D W Claridge, Harry L Anderson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Small alterations to the structure of a star-shaped template totally change its mode of operation. The hexapyridyl template directs the conversion of a porphyrin dimer to the cyclic hexamer, but deleting one pyridine site changes the product to the cyclic decamer, while deleting two binding sites changes the product to the cyclic octamer. This surprising switch in selectivity is explained by the formation of 2:1 caterpillar track complexes, in which two template wheels bind inside the nanoring. Caterpillar track complexes can also be prepared by binding the hexapyridyl template inside the 8- and 10-porphyrin nanorings. NMR exchange spectroscopy (EXSY) experiments show that these complexes exhibit correlated motion, in which the conrotatory rotation of the two template wheels is coupled to rotation of the nanoring track. In the case of the 10-porphyrin system, the correlated motion can be locked by binding palladium(II) dichloride between the two templates.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAngewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2015


    • molecular gears
    • molecular motion
    • porphyrinoids
    • supramolecular chemistry
    • templated synthesis


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