Issue Date: March 26, 2007
A new molecular receptor for buckminsterfullerene contains two concave, bowl-shaped polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon components that, unlike earlier C60 receptors, embrace the C60 molecule through "pure" concave-convex π-π interactions (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 3842). The resulting 1:1 inclusion complex (shown) forms dark red crystals and provides the first experimental evidence of the robustness and importance of π-π interactions between the convex surface of a buckyball and the concave surface of a buckybowl, according to chemist Andrzej Sygula of Mississippi State University and coworkers. Unlike some previously reported molecular tweezers for C60, the new C60H28 buckycatcher contains no heteroatoms or polar substituents that would enable it to bind to a fullerene via other types of interactions. Such receptors may be able to distinguish between different fullerenes and thus allow them to be separated, Sygula speculates.
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