Cucurbit[n]uril host-guest complexes: the effects of inclusion on the chemical reactivity and spectroscopic properties of aromatic guest molecules

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Wang, Ruibing
Cucurbit[n]uril , Host-guest self-assembly
This thesis deals primarily with supramolecular chemistry based on cucurbit[n]uril (CB[n], n = 7 and 8) host molecules. The research has been focused on the synthesis and characterization of host-guest complexes CB[n] with aromatic guest molecules, and the study of the effects of the host-guest complexation on the chemical reactivity and spectroscopic properties of the included guests, such as their photoreactivity and their UV-visible absorption and emission properties, in aqueous solution. The [4+4] photodimerization of protonated 2-aminopyridine (APH+) occurs stereoselectively to give the anti-trans product as the result of a preferred orientation of two APH+ guests in the cavity of CB[7]. The CB[7] host inhibits photohydration in the course of the photoisomerizations of protonated trans-1,2-bis(4-pyridyl)ethylene and trans-1,2-bis(1-methyl-4-pyridinium)ethylene by including the (4-pyridyl)ethylene portion of the guest, while this is not observed with trans-1,2-bis(1-hexyl-4-pyridinium)ethylene, as preferential inclusion of the hexyl groups leaves the vinyl group vulnerable to photohydration. Very strong CB[7] complexation of (E)-1-ferrocenyl-2-(1-methyl-4-pyridinium)ethylene completely inhibits the (E)→(Z) photoisomerization process. The H/D exchange rates and acidities of the C(2)-proton of cationic imidazolium and thiazolium (including thiamine and thiamine phosphates) carbon acids are decreased upon their complexation with CB[7]. Inclusion of protonated aromatic amines (and aromatic alcohols) in the cavity CB[7] significantly decreases their ground and excited state acidities, such that the emission is switched from the neutral amine to the protonated amine excited state, resulting in changes in the color of fluorescence. The fluorescence of acridizinium cations can be switched off by the formation of 2:1 complexes with CB[8] and then switched back on again by the addition of CB[7] or a competing guest molecule. The stabilization of the deep blue color of the 4,4’-bis(dimethylamino)diphenyl carbonium ion, upon complexation of the corresponding carbinol with CB[7], results from a complexation-induced shift in the carbinol/carbonium ion equilibrium. A dramatic purple to blue color change in pinacyanol chloride upon addition of CB[7] is due to a partial breakup of dye aggregates, upon the interactions of the dye with the host molecule. The CB[n] complexation-induced emission and/or absorption color switch have the potential to be employed in molecular switches and in chemical sensing.
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