Organic & biomolecular chemistry

Tetraurea calix[4]arenes with sulfur functions: synthesis, dimerization to capsules, and self-assembly on gold.

PMID 17252139


Various calix[4]arene derivatives, fixed in the cone conformation by decylether groups and functionalized at their wide rim by urea residues, were synthesized. In two compounds (,) sulfur functions were attached to the urea groups via different spacers in order to allow binding to metal surfaces. While they exist as single molecules in polar solvents, tetraurea calix[4]arenes of this type () combine to form dimeric capsules in aprotic, apolar solvents. A solvent molecule is usually included in such a capsule, if no guest with a higher affinity is present. In the presence of an equimolar amount of the tetratosylurea, the exclusive formation of heterodimers, consisting of one molecule of and, is observed. The homo- and heterodimerization of the newly prepared derivatives, were studied by 1H NMR to establish the conditions under which they exhibit the desired dimerization behaviour. Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) were formed using the single calix[4]arenes, and the heterodimeric capsules. Chloroform, dichloromethane and ferrocenium cations were used as guests in these immobilized heterodimeric capsules. The particular supramolecular architecture of the heterodimers should ensure that, after the immobilization on the metal surface, decomposition of the capsules and release or exchange of the guest is impossible or at least hindered. The self-assembly process and the stability of SAMs formed by capsules filled with ferrocenium cations in electrolyte solutions were tested with surface plasmon spectroscopy. The inclusion of guests, such as dichloromethane or ferrocenium, in the immobilized capsules were confirmed by classical surface plasmon spectroscopy, by gold nanoparticle absorption spectroscopy and by time-of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). The film stability and quality was tested by cyclic voltammetry.

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