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, biphenarene 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.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Organic Chemistry