Carboxylated Pillar[6]arene Emulates Pillar[5]arene in the Host–Guest Crystal Complexes and Shows Conformational Flexibility in the Solution/Gas Phase

Despite the thriving interest in the aqueous complexation properties of carboxylated pillar[6]arene, its solid state supramolecular chemistry has remained a mystery. Here, overcoming challenging crystallogenesis, we report the first crystallographic authentication of carboxylated pillar[6]arene in the form of two host–guest inclusion complexes with methyl viologen and pentamidine. The key to the successful crystallization of carboxylated pillar[6]arene is the mixed ionization state of its 12 carboxylic substituents. The deprotonation of several but not all substituents enables intermolecular hydrogen bonding and, as a result, “gluing” and crystallization of pillar[6]arene complexes with the aid of carboxylic-carboxylate, carboxylic-carboxylic, and amidinium-carboxylate supramolecular synthons. Single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis revealed that upon guest inclusion pillar[6]arene adopts a quasi-pentagonal shape rather than the expected hexagonal shape. The squeezed quasi-pentagonal conformation of the six-membered macrocycle is stabilized by two intramolecular hydrogen bonds between pillar[6]arene substituents. Moreover, the distinctive deviation of the macrocycle from hexagonal shape stays operative in the solution/gas phase as concluded from ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS) studies and theoretical calculations. These results provide the first insight into how to gain control over the conformation of flexible pillar[6]arene with a view of solid state design of more advanced supramolecular host–guest structures.
Cryst. Growth Des. 2023, 23, 1, 11–18 ;
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