Arranging molecules in baskets to make rings

Basket-shaped molecules holding pre-organised molecules in place have helped German scientists to make huge ring compounds

It is difficult to arrange component molecules together to make a desired product, but Volker Böhmer and colleagues at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz and J-W Goethe Universität in Frankfurt have used basket-shaped calixarene compounds as templates to keep everything in the right place for reactions.


The rings are made from separate constituent molecules. These are attached to the rim of a calixarene basket before hydrogen bonding interactions from a second basket arranges the molecules so they can react. Connecting the components and then removing the calixarenes gives giant macrocycles of up to 100 atoms. 

Building on this calixarene work, Böhmer's next step is to see how this general strategy can be adapted to increase the size of the huge macrocycles. 

Sue Askey 



Y Cao et alChem. Commun., 2005, 3132  (DOI: 10.1039/b505223h)