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Chem Asian J. 2012 Nov;7(11):2592-9. doi: 10.1002/asia.201200488. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Selective detection of multicarboxylate anions based on "turn on" electron transfer by self-assembled molecular rectangles.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Ulsan, Ulsan 680-749, Republic of Korea.


Two new large molecular rectangles (4 and 5) were obtained by the reaction of two different dinuclear arene ruthenium complexes [Ru(2)(arene)(2)(OOOO)(2)Cl(2)] (arene = p-cymene; OOOO = 2,5-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoquinonato (2), 6,11-dihydroxy-5,12-naphthacene dionato (3)) with the unsymmetrical amide NN (N-[4-(pyridin-4-ylethynyl)phenyl]isonicotinamide) donor ligand 1 in methanol in the presence of AgO(3)SCF(3), forming tetranuclear cations of the general formula [Ru(4)(arene)(4)(NN)(2)(OOO O)(2)](4+). Both rectangles were isolated in good yields as triflate salts and were characterized by multinuclear NMR, ESI-MS, UV/Vis, and photoluminescence spectroscopy. The crystal structure of 5 was determined by X-ray diffraction. Luminescent rectangle 5 was used for anion sensing with an amide ligand as a hydrogen-bond donor and an arene-ruthenium acceptor as a signaling unit. Rectangle 5 strongly bound multicarboxylate anions, such as oxalate, tartrate, and citrate, in UV/Vis titration experiments in 1:1 ratios, in contrast to monoanions, such as F(-), Cl(-), NO(3)(-), PF(6)(-), CH(3)COO(-), and C(6)H(5)COO(-). The fluorescence titration experiment showed a large fluorescence enhancement of 5 upon binding to multicarboxylate anions, which could be attributed to blocking of the photoinduced electron transfer process from the arene-ruthenium moiety to the amidic donor in 5; this was likely to be a result of hydrogen bonding between the ligand and the anion. On the other hand, rectangle 5 was not selective towards any other anions. To the naked eye, multicarboxylate anions in a solution of 5 in methanol appear greenish upon irradiation with UV light.

Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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