Supramolecular resorcin  arene-capped porphyrins : ligands towards homogeneous catalysis
MetadataShow full item record
The synthesis of cavitand-capped porphyrin ligands, with a view towards their potential as ligands in homogeneous catalysis, is described. The ligand apertures, one of which is outlined in the figure below, are focal with the aim of synthesising a ligand which can control access to the active site of the porphyrin via these apertures Synthesis of the target ligand (where R' = CH2 in the figure presented) was attempted via two pathways. Synthesis commenced by using an in situ protocol, which used successive functionalisation of the cavitand structure towards the required aldehyde precursor for porphyrin formation. It was found that subsequent in situ cyclisation and porphyrin formation was hindered by steric factors, arising directly from the short -CH2O- bridges used to link the cavitand to the porphyrin. Ligand synthesis was thus unsuccessful. In a second approach, the porphyrin was synthesised in isolation before being coupled with the cavitand in a direct capping protocol, which gave more promising results. In the case of R = C11H23 (in the figure above), preliminary UV-Vis analysis indicated a successful synthesis. Subsequent analysis of the reaction product by NMR techniques and mass spectrometry could not conclusively confirm the synthesis of the target ligand. The synthesis could therefore not be deemed a success; conceivably the short bridge length being the decisive factor once more. Computational chemistry was used to investigate synthetic results, and therefore the viability of using the -CH2O- bridges to afford limited access to the porphyrin active site. By using molecular mechanics, -CH2O- bridges were found to be too short, giving an aperture of insufficient size to enable only the terminus of a linear paraffin to gain access to the inner cavity of the ligand. Further investigation using molecular dynamics indicated that a ligand bearing bridges four or five atoms in length would afford an aperture of the desired size to accommodate the terminus of a paraffin exclusively. Consequently, synthesis was redesigned towards the preparation of two new ligands, bearing - O(CH2)2O- (four atom, R' = O(CH2)2 in the figure above) and -O(CH2)3O- (five atom, R' = O(CH2)3 in the figure above) bridges. Using 2-phenylethyl feet (R = CH2CH2C6H5 in the figure presented) and adopting the in situ synthetic protocol, both ligands were successfully synthesised. Characterisation using UV-Vis and NMR spectroscopic techniques, as well as mass spectrometry confirmed that both ligands had been obtained pure. Additionally, the in situ cyclisation (in both ligands) was performed via the use of microwave heating, a technique hitherto unreported. A viable synthetic route was thus established for the preparation of two new cavitand-capped porphyrin ligands towards their use in size-selective catalysis. In addition, a number of crystal structures of synthetic intermediates are described, five of which are newly reported. These illustrated notable structural features regarding resorcinarene cavitands and their abilities as host molecules. In particular, the structure of the aldehyde precursor to capped porphyrin formation following the (initial) in situ synthetic protocol was significant in illustrating the reason as to why in situ cyclisation was unsuccessful for the synthesis involving -CH2O- bridges.