Binding properties and supramolecular polymerization of a water-soluble resorcinarene†
Controlling the self-assembly of molecules in water is difficult because the small size, polarity, and hydrogen bond donating and accepting properties of water attenuate most non-covalent interactions. Here we describe how resorcinarene 1, with pyridinium pendent groups, assembles in water to form head-to-tail assemblies. These small supramolecular polymers form because they offer greater stabilization than any latent head-to-head assembly of resorcinarenes to form dimeric (or hexameric) containers. Instead, the resorcinarene bowl – particularly if negatively charged – is a good host for the pyridinium pendent groups of a second resorcinarene. Alternatively, resorcinarene 1 is also a good host for complexing anions and cations of any added salt. In combination therefore, host 1 possesses a rich repertoire of supramolecular properties that is dependent on the ionic strength and the nature of salts, pH, and the concentration of the host. These findings provide new information about controlling the self-assembly of resorcinarenes in water.
- This article is part of the themed collection: In celebration of Julius Rebek’s 75th Birthday