Chiral slipped 5,8:9′,10′-cyclodimers were preferentially produced over classical 9,10:9′,10′-cyclodimers upon supramolecular photocyclodimerization of 2-anthracenecarboxylate (AC) mediated by β-cyclodextrin (β-CD). This photochirogenic route to the slipped cyclodimers, exclusively head-to-tail (HT) and highly enantioselective, has long been overlooked in foregoing studies but is dominant in reality and is absolutely supramolecularly activated by 2:2 complexation of AC with β-CD. The intricate structural and photophysical aspects of this higher-order complexation-triggered process have been comprehensively elucidated, while the absolute configurations of the slipped cyclodimers have been unambiguously assigned by comparing the experimental and theoretical circular dichroism spectra. In the 2:2 complex, two ACs packed in a dual β-CD capsule are not fully overlapped with each other but are only partially stacked in a slipped anti- or syn-HT manner. Hence, they do not spontaneously cyclodimerize upon photoexcitation but instead emit long-lived excimer fluorescence at wavelengths slightly longer than the monomer fluorescence, indicating that the slipped excimer is neither extremely reactive nor completely relaxed in conformation and energy. Because of the slipped conformation of the AC pair in the soft capsule, the subsequent photocyclodimerization becomes manipulable by various internal or external factors, such as temperature, pressure, added salt, and host modification, enabling us to exclusively obtain the slipped cyclodimers with high regio- and enantioselectivities. In this supramolecularly driven photochirogenesis, the dual β-CD capsule functions as a chiral organophotocatalyst to trigger and accelerate the nonclassical photochirogenic route to slipped cyclodimers by preorganizing the conformation of the encapsulated AC pair, formally mimicking a catalytic antibody.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry