Photoswitchable interlocked thiodiglycolamide as a cocatalyst of a chalcogeno-Baylis–Hillman reaction†
En route to a photoswitchable interlocked catalyst we have proved the ability of thiodiglycolamide to act as a template in the formation of hydrogen-bonded rotaxanes. X-ray diffraction studies reveal the shielding of the sulfide atom by the macrocycle. A series of molecular shuttles are described as having an isomerizable fumaramide and thiodiglycolamide binding sites for controlling the relative ring position at will. By employing these systems as photoregulated catalysts, the TiCl4-mediated chalcogeno-Morita–Baylis–Hillman reaction is tested. In the presence of the maleamide shuttle, in which the sulfide function is encapsulated by the macrocycle, a complete loss in control of the geometry of the produced aldol is observed. The E-aldol adduct is predominantly obtained when the photoisomerized fumaramide shuttle, in which the sulfide function is exposed, is used.