Porphyrin Architectures Bearing Functionalized Xanthene Spacers

A modular synthetic strategy for the construction of cofacial porphyrin architectures bearing hydrogen-bond synthons on a xanthene platform is presented. The convergent approach is based on a xanthene aldehyde-ester building block that is easily obtainable on a multigram scale with minimal purification. Treatment of this xanthene derivative with a variety of aryl aldehydes and pyrrole under standard Lindsey conditions affords a family of meso-substituted porphyrins bearing a single functionalized xanthene spacer. Direct modification of the hydrogen-bond synthon after macrocyclization proceeds smoothly to furnish porphyrin systems with a variety of cofacial functionalities (e.g., carboxylic acid, ester, amide). Porphyrins bearing two trans-functionalized xanthene spacers are prepared by the MacDonald [2 + 2] condensation of the xanthene aldehyde-ester with readily available 5-aryl-substituted dipyrromethanes such as 5-mesityldipyrromethane to afford the pure α,α- and α,β-porphyrin atropisomers after chromatographic separation. The versatility of this synthetic method offers intriguing opportunities for the use of these and related templates for the study of proton-coupled activation of small molecules.