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To design and exploit novel macrocyclic synthetic receptors is a permanent and challenging topic in supramolecular chemistry. Here we describe the one-pot synthesis, unique geometries and intriguing host–guest properties of a new class of supramolecular macrocycles – biphen[n]arenes (n = 3, 4), which are made up of 4,4′-biphenol or 4,4′-biphenol ether units linked by methylene bridges at the 3- and 3′- positions. The biphenarene macrocycles are conveniently accessible/modifiable and extremely guest-friendly. Particularly, biphen[4]arene is capable of forming inclusion complexes with not only organic cationic guests but also neutral π-electron deficient molecules. Compared with calixarenes, resorcinarenes, cyclotriveratrylenes and pillararenes with substituted mono-benzene units, the biphen[n]arenes reported here possess significantly different characteristics in both their topologic structures and their recognition properties, and thus can find broad applications in supramolecular chemistry and other areas.

Graphical abstract: Biphen[n]arenes

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Article information

10 Aug 2014
17 Sep 2014
First published
17 Sep 2014

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2015,6, 197-202
Article type
Edge Article


H. Chen, J. Fan, X. Hu, J. Ma, S. Wang, J. Li, Y. Yu, X. Jia and C. Li, Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 197
DOI: 10.1039/C4SC02422B

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