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A Photoresponsive Receptor with a 105 Magnitude of Reversible Anion-Binding Switching...

by Jeffrey D Einkauf, Vyacheslav Bryantsev, Bruce A Moyer, Radu Custelcean
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Journal Name
Chemistry—A European Journal
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In a leap toward anion separation that uses only energy input for binding and release cycles, we report herein a new class of photoswitchable anion receptors featuring a diiminoguanidinium functionality that displays a change of more than five orders of magnitude in switched-off binding strength towards sulfate, a representative oxyanion, upon photoirradiation with UV light. The (E,E)-2-pyridyl-diiminoguanidinium cation, synthesized as the triflate salt, binds sulfate with extraordinary strength in [D6]DMSO owing to its bidentate guanidinium hydrogen bonding, which can chelate the O−S−O edge of sulfate. Upon photoisomerization to the Z,Z isomer, the anion-binding site is essentially shut off by intramolecular hydrogen bonds to the 2-pyridyl substituents, as shown by anion-binding titrations, theoretical calculations, and X-ray structural analysis. This approach will allow the development of advanced anion-separation cycles that use only energy input and generate no chemical waste, and thus address challenging chemical separation problems in a more sustainable way.