Pedal to the Metal - High Order Rotaxanes, Catenanes and Knots via Metal Template Synthesis

  • Jonathan Danon

Student thesis: Phd


Over the past quarter of a century a vast amount of research investigating the synthesis and properties of mechanically interlocked molecules has been reported. This can be largely attributed to the emergence of non-statistical, supramolecular strategies for their synthesis, starting with Jean-Pierre Sauvage's metal template capture of a catenane - a single molecule comprising two macrocycles which could not be unlinked without breaking a covalent bond. Other molecules possessing interlocked architectures, namely rotaxanes and knots, have also been synthesised and studied. While a variety of other template strategies have been developed over the years, the use of metal ions remains popular and widespread amongst supramolecular chemists due to their diversity as both templates and catalysts. The research presented in this thesis explores that remarkable diversity, demonstrating the rapid progress that has been achieved towards the synthesis of increasingly complex molecules by the continued usage of metal template strategies.Chapter 1 reviews the current state of the art regarding metal template synthesis of mechanically interlocked molecules.Chapter 2 reports the synthesis of doubly-interlocked [2]catenanes (otherwise known as Solomon links) from supramolecular interwoven 2×2 grids.Chapter 3 details progress towards the synthesis of an "endless" knot with seven crossings from an unprecedented interwoven 3×3 grid.Chapter 4 illustrates the use of a circular iron(II) double helicate to construct a highly compact and complex molecular knot with eight crossings.Chapter 5 describes an active metal template strategy for the synthesis of the first [4]rotaxanes containing one ring and three threads.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDavid Leigh (Supervisor)


  • chemical topology
  • supramolecular chemistry

Cite this