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Dynamic Metalloporphyrin‐Based [2]Rotaxane Molecular Shuttles Stimulated by Neutral Lewis Base and Anion Co‐ordination

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A series of dynamic metalloporphyrin [2]rotaxane molecular shuttles comprising of bis-functionalised Zn(II) porphyrin axle and pyridyl functionalised macrocycle components are prepared in high yield via active metal template synthetic methodology. Extensive variable temperature 1H NMR and quantitative UV-Vis spectroscopic titration studies demonstrate dynamic macrocycle translocation is governed by an inter-component co-ordination interaction between the macrocycle pyridyl and axle Zn(II) metalloporphyrin, which serves to bias a ‘resting state’ co-conformation. The dynamic shuttling behaviour of the interlocked structures is dramatically inhibited by the addition of a neutral Lewis base such as pyridine, but can also be tuned via post-synthetic rotaxane demetallation of the porphyrin axle core to give free-base, or upon subsequent metallation, Ni(II) [2]rotaxane analogues. Importantly, the Lewis acidic Zn(II) porphyrin axle component is also capable of coordinating anions which induces mechanical bond shuttling behaviour resulting in a novel optical sensing response.

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