Journal article

Enantiopure, supramolecular helices containing three-dimensional tetranuclear lanthanide(III) arrays: Synthesis, structure, properties, and solvent-driven Trinuclear/Tetranuclear interconversion

The enantiomerically pure pinene-bipyridine-based receptor, (-) or (+) L-, diastereoselectively self-assembles in dry acetonitrile in the presence of Ln(III) ions (Ln = La, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, and Tb) to give a C-3-symmetrical, pyramidal architecture with the general formula [Ln(4)(L)(9)(mu(3)-OH)](CIO4)(2)) (abbreviated as tetra-Ln(4)L(9)). Three metal centers shape the base: an equilateral triangle surrounded by two sets of helically wrapping ligands with opposite configurations. This part of the structure is very similar to the species [Ln(3)(L-6(mu(3)-OH)(H2O)(3)](CIO4)(2)) (recently reported by us and abbreviated as tris-LnL(2)) formed by the ligand and the Ln(III) ions when the reactions are performed in methanol. The tetranuclear structure is completed by a capping, helical unit LnL(3) whose chirality is also predetermined by the chirality of the ligand. A complete characterization of these isostructural, chiral compounds was performed in solid state (X-ray, IR) and in solution (ES-MS, NMR, CD, UV-vis and emission spectroscopies). The sign and the intensity of the CD bands in the region of the pi pi* transitions of the bipyridine (absolute Delta epsilon values at 327 nm are about 280 are highly influenced by the helicity of the capping fragment LnL(3). The photophysical properties (lifetime, quantum yield) of the visible (Eu and Tb complexes) and NIR (Nd complex) emitters indicate a good energy transfer between the ligands and the metal centers. The two related superstructures tetra-Ln(4)L(9) and tris-LnL(2) can be interconverted in acetonitrile, the switching process depending on the amount of water present in the solvent, the size of the Ln(III) ion, and the concentration. The weak chiral recognition capabilities of the self-assembly leading to the formation of tetra-Ln(4)L(9) either by direct synthesis from a racemic mixture of the ligand and Ln(III) ions or by the conversion of a tris-Ln[(+/-)-L](2) racemate were likewise demonstrated.


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