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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Nov 27;112(47):15014-20. doi: 10.1021/jp806685z.

NMR study of the reversible trapping of SF6 by cucurbit[6]uril in aqueous solution.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università di Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria di Monserrato, Monserrato (CA), Italy.


The complexation of sulfur hexafluoride (SF(6)), a highly potent greenhouse gas, by cucurbit[6]uril (CB) was studied at various temperatures in Na(2)SO(4) aqueous solutions by (19)F and (1)H NMR. CB shows a remarkable affinity for SF(6), suggesting that it is a suitable molecular container for the design of materials tailored for SF(6) trapping. At 298 K, the equilibrium constant characterizing the inclusion of SF(6) by CB is 3.1 x 10(4) M(-1) and the residence time of SF(6) within the CB cavity is estimated to be of the order of a few seconds. The enthalpic and entropic contributions to the free energy of encapsulation were determined and are discussed. This work also reports on the interest of SF(6) in the framework of the spin-spy methodology. The advantages and drawbacks of solution-state (19)F NMR of SF(6) with respect to (129)Xe NMR are discussed. SF(6) comes forward as a versatile and informative spin-spy molecule for probing systems in solution because its detection limit by (19)F NMR reaches the micromolar range with standard equipment and because quantitative integral measurements, relaxation time measurements, and demanding experiments, such as translational diffusion coefficient measurements, are easily carried out in addition to chemical shift measurements. Solution-state (19)F NMR of SF(6) emerges as a promising alternative to (129)Xe NMR for probing cavities and for other applications relying on the encapsulation of an NMR active gaseous probe.

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