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Successive translocation of the rings in a [3]rotaxane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dhiredj C. Jagesar, Piet G. Wiering, Euan R. Kay, David A. Leigh, Albert M. Brouwer

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A [2]rotaxane, a [3]rotaxane and the corresponding thread containing two succinamide (succ) binding stations and a central redox-active pyromellitimide (pmi) station were studied. Infrared spectroelectrochemical experiments revealed the translocation of the macrocycle between the succinamide station and the electrochemically reduced pmi station (radical anion and dianion). Remarkably, in the [3]rotaxane, the rings can be selectively translocated. One-electron reduction leads to the translocation of one of the two macrocycles from the succinamide to the pyromellitimide station, whereas activation of the shuttle through two-electron reduction results in the translocation of both macrocycles: the dianion, due to its higher electron density and hence greater hydrogen-bond accepting affinity, is hydrogen bonded to both macrocycles. Systems with such an on-command contraction are known as molecular muscles. The relative strengths of the binding between the macrocycle and the imide anions could be estimated from the hydrogen-bond-induced shifts in the C=O stretching frequencies of hydrogen-bond accepting amide groups of the macrocycle.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1902-1912
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Early online date29 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • Electrochemistry, IR spectroscopy, Molecular devices, Reduction, Rotaxanes

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