Isolable chiral aggregates of achiral π-conjugated carboxylic acids

Jin-Song Zhao, Jin-He Wang, Wen-Bin He, Yi-Bin Ruan, Yun-Bao Jiang
Chemistry: a European Journal 2012 March 19, 18 (12): 3631-6
The induced aggregation of achiral building blocks by a chiral species to form chiral aggregates with memorized chirality has been observed for a number of systems. However, chiral memory in isolated aggregates of achiral building blocks remains rare. One possible reason for this discrepancy could be that not much is understood in terms of designing these chiral aggregates. Herein, we report a strategy for creating such isolable chiral aggregates from achiral building blocks that retain chiral memory after the facile physical removal of the chiral templates. This strategy was used for the isolation of chiral homoaggregates of neutral achiral π-conjugated carboxylic acids in pure aqueous solution. Under what we have termed an "interaction-substitution" mechanism, we generated chiral homoaggregates of a variety of π-conjugated carboxylic acids by using carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) as a mediator in acidic aqueous solutions. These aggregates were subsequently isolated from the CMC templates whilst retaining their memorized supramolecular chirality. Circular dichroism (CD) spectra of the aggregates formed in the acidic CMC solution exhibited bisignated exciton-coupled signals of various signs and intensities that were maintained in the isolated pure homoaggregates of the achiral π-conjugated carboxylic acids. The memory of the supramolecular chirality in the isolated aggregates was ascribed to the substitution of COOH/COOH hydrogen-bonding interaction between the carboxylic acid groups within the aggregates for the hydrogen-bonding interactions between the COOH groups of the building blocks and the chiral templates. We expect that this "interaction-substitution" procedure will open up a new route to isolable pure chiral aggregates from achiral species.

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