Self-assembled coordination cages based on banana-shaped ligands
The combination of pyridyl ligands and square-planar Pd(II) or Pt(II) cations has proven to be a very reliable recipe for the realization of supramolecular self-assemblies. This tutorial review deals with the design, synthesis and host–guest chemistry of discrete coordination cages built according to this strategy. The focus is set on structures obeying the formula [PdnL2n] (n = 2–4). The most discussed ligands are bent, bis-monodentate bridges having their two donor sites pointing in the same direction. The structures of the resulting cages range from simple globules over intertwined knots to interpenetrated dimers featuring three small pockets instead of one large cavity. The cages have large openings that allow small guest molecules to enter and leave the cavities. Most structures are cationic and thus favour the uptake of anionic guests. Some examples of host–guest complexes are discussed with emphasis on coencapsulation and allosteric binding phenomena. Aside from cages in which the ligands have only a structural role, some examples of functional ligands based on photo- and redox-active backbones are presented.