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Acc Chem Res. 2005 Apr;38(4):349-58.

Selective molecular recognition, C-H bond activation, and catalysis in nanoscale reaction vessels.

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Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-1460, USA.


Supramolecular chemistry represents a way to mimic enzyme reactivity by using specially designed container molecules. We have shown that a chiral self-assembled M4L6 supramolecular tetrahedron can encapsulate a variety of cationic guests with varying degrees of stereoselectivity. Reactive iridium guests can be encapsulated, and the C-H bond activation of aldehydes occurs with the host cavity controlling the ability of substrates to interact with the metal center based upon size and shape. In addition, the host container can act as a catalyst by itself. By restricting reaction space and preorganizing the substrates into reactive conformations, it accelerates the sigmatropic rearrangement of enammonium cations.

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