Synthetic strategies towards mechanically interlocked oligomers and polymers
Mechanically interlocked molecules have fascinated chemists for decades. Initially a tantalising synthetic challenge, interlocked molecules have continued to capture the imagination for their aesthetics and, increasingly, for their potential as molecular machines and use in materials applications. Whilst preliminary statistical attempts to prepare these molecules were exceedingly inefficient, a raft of template-directed strategies have now been realised, providing a vast toolbox from which chemists can access interlocked structures in excellent yields. For many envisaged applications it is desirable to move away from small, discrete interlocked molecules and turn to oligomers and polymers instead, either due to the need for multiple mechanical bonds within the desired material, or to exploit an extended scaffold for the organisation and arrangement of individual mechanically interlocked units. In this tutorial-style review we outline the synthetic strategies that have been employed for the synthesis of mechanically interlocked oligomers and polymers, including oligo-/polymerisation of (pseudo)interlocked precursors, metal–organic self-assembly, the use of orthogonal template motifs, iterative approaches and grafting onto polymer backbones.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Supramolecular chemistry in OBC