Tropylium cation capsule of hydrogen-bonded tetraurea calix[4]arene dimers

L. Frish, M. O. Vysotsky, S. E. Matthews, V. Böhmer, Y. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interaction between tropylium salts and tetraurea calix[4]arene derivatives (such as 1 and 2) was studied in solution using 1D, 2D, diffusion, VT NMR and UV-visible spectroscopy. It was found that tropylium salts form charge transfer complexes with both the monomers and dimers of the tetraurea calix[4]arene derivatives depending on the experimental conditions. Compound 1 increases dramatically the solubility of tropylium salts in apolar solvents such as C2D4Cl2, CDCl3 and CD2Cl2 by forming the molecular capsule 1·C7H7+·1. In contrast to the benzene capsule of 1, in 1·C7H7·1 the hydrogen bonds in the equatorial region that hold together the two parts of the dimer change their directionality faster than the NMR time scale (at 400 MHz) at temperatures higher than 298 K. Interestingly, the free energy barrier for this dynamic process at 298 K (ΔG‡298), depends on the nature of the counter-anion. Free energies of activation of 14.3 ± 0.2 kcal mol-1 and 12.6 ± 0.2 kcal mol-1 were found by total lineshape analysis for the dimeric capsules of C7H7+PF6- and C7H7+BF4-, respectively. The affinity of the tropylium cation toward the dimer's cavity is much higher than that of neutral organic guests. Although exact quantitative values are not available due to the low solubility of tropylium salts in apolar solvents, a rough estimation in CD2Cl2 shows that the tropylium cation affinity is several orders of magnitude higher than that of benzene, which is known to be a good guest. These results show that once the steric requirements are met, electronic e3ects may serve as an additional driving force for the formation of such molecular capsules demonstrating the importance of cation-π interactions in such systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 2
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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