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New inclusion complexes and catenanes were self-assembled from a fluorescent diazapyrenium based ligand, a PdII or PtII complex, and cyclic or acyclic electron rich aromatic guests in aqueous and organic media. The molecular rectangles display a π-deficient cavity suitable to incorporate π-donor aromatic systems. The inclusion complexes between the metallocycles and phenylenic (2a,b) and naphthalenic (3a,b–5a,b) derivatives were studied by NMR, UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. The crystal structure of (3b) ⊂ 1a·6PF6 confirmed the insertion of the guest into the cavity of the metallocycle. Following the same self-assembly strategy, the use of polyethers 6,7 as π-donors resulted in the self-assembly of the catenanes 1a(6,7)·6PF6. Single-crystal X-ray analysis of 1a(7)·6PF6 revealed the catenane structure being stabilized by π-stacking and [C–HO] interactions.
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