Highly bent crystals formed by restrained π-stacked columns connected via alkylene linkers with variable conformations†
A reproducible formation of strongly bent crystals was accomplished by structurally restraining macrocyclic π-conjugated molecules. The model π-units consist of two 9,10-bis(2-thienylethynyl)anthracenes with a strong propensity for stacking, which are connected in a macrocyclic fashion via two alkylene linkers. The correlation between the crystalline morphology and the macrocyclic structures restrained by a variety of flexible alkylene linker combinations was systematically studied. Bent crystals were obtained only with specific alkylene linkers of appropriate chain length. The alkylene linkers can adopt different conformations in the crystal packing, so as to fill voids within the macrocycle. The ability to form several similar molecular structures with different alkylene conformations gives rise to contaminations of different crystalline phases within a single crystal, and it is these phase contaminations which are responsible for the bending of the crystals.