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Issue 70, 2017
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Flexible imidazolium macrocycles: building blocks for anion-induced self-assembly

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This feature article summarises recent contributions of the authors in the area of anion-induced supramolecular self-assembly. It is based on the chemistry of a set of tetracationic imidazolium macrocycles, specifically the so-called ‘Texas-sized’ molecular box, cyclo[2](2,6-di(1H-imidazol-1-yl)pyridine)[2](1,4-dimethylenebenzene) (14+), and its congeners, cyclo[2](2,6-di(1H-imidazol-1-yl)pyridine)[2](1,2-dimethylenebenzene) (24+), cyclo[2](2,6-di(1H-imidazol-1-yl)pyridine)[2](1,3-dimethylenebenzene) (34+), and cyclo[2](2,6-di(1H-imidazol-1-yl)pyridine)[2](2,6-dimethylenepyridine) (44+). These systems collectively have been demonstrated as being versatile building blocks that interact with organic carboxylate or sulfonate anions, as well as substrates (e.g., neutral molecules or metal cations). Most work to date has been carried out with 14+, a system that has been found to support the construction of a number of stimuli responsive self-assembled ensembles. This macrocycle and others of the ‘Texas-sized’ box family also show the potential to react as carbene precursors and to undergo post-synthetic modification (PSM) to produce new functional macrocycles, such as trans- and cis-cyclo[2]((Z)-N-(2-((6-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)pyridin-2-yl)amino)vinyl)formamide)[2](1,4-bismethylbenzene) (52+ and 62+, respectively). On the basis of the work reviewed in this Feature article, we propose that the imidazolium macrocycles 14+44+ can be considered as useful tools for the construction of ensembles with environmentally responsive features, including control over self-assembly and an ability to undergo precursor-specific PSM.

Graphical abstract: Flexible imidazolium macrocycles: building blocks for anion-induced self-assembly

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Jun 2017, accepted on 25 Jul 2017 and first published on 25 Jul 2017

Article type: Feature Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC04661H
Citation: Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 9684-9696
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    Flexible imidazolium macrocycles: building blocks for anion-induced self-assembly

    Y. Yang, J. L. Sessler and H. Gong, Chem. Commun., 2017, 53, 9684
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CC04661H

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