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Ring-in-Ring(s) Complexes Exhibiting Tunable Multicolor Photoluminescence

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posted on 16.09.2020 by Huang Wu, Yu Wang, Leighton O. Jones, Wenqi Liu, Bo Song, Yunpeng Cui, Kang Cai, Long Zhang, Dengke Shen, Xiao-Yang Chen, Yang Jiao, Charlotte L. Stern, Xiaopeng Li, George C. Schatz, J. Fraser Stoddart
One ring threaded by two other rings to form a non-intertwined ternary ring-in-rings motif is a challenging task in noncovalent synthesis. Constructing multicolor photoluminescence systems with tunable properties is also a fundamental research goal, which can lead to applications in multidimensional biological imaging, visual displays, and encryption materials. Herein, we describe the design and synthesis of binary and ternary ring-in-ring(s) complexes, based on an extended tetracationic cyclophane and cucurbit[8]­uril. The formation of these complexes is accompanied by tunable multicolor fluorescence outputs. On mixing equimolar amounts of the cyclophane and cucurbit[8]­uril, a 1:1 ring-in-ring complex is formed as a result of hydrophobic interactions associated with a favorable change in entropy. With the addition of another equivalent of cucurbit[8]­uril, a 1:2 ring-in-rings complex is formed, facilitated by additional ion–dipole interactions involving the pyridinium units in the cyclophane and the carbonyl groups in cucurbit[8]­uril. Because of the narrowing in the energy gaps of the cyclophane within the rigid hydrophobic cavities of cucurbit[8]­urils, the binary and ternary ring-in-ring(s) complexes emit green and bright yellow fluorescence, respectively. A series of color-tunable emissions, such as sky blue, cyan, green, and yellow with increased fluorescence lifetimes, can be achieved by simply adding cucurbit[8]­uril to an aqueous solution of the cyclophane. Notably, the smaller cyclobis­(paraquat-p-phenylene), which contains the same p-xylylene linkers as the extended tetracationic cyclophane, does not form ring-in-ring(s) complexes with cucurbit[8]­uril. The encapsulation of this extended tetracationic cyclophane by both one and two cucurbit[8]­urils provides an incentive to design and synthesize more advanced supramolecular systems, as well as opening up a feasible approach toward achieving tunable multicolor photoluminescence with single chromophores.