Two classes of mechanically interlocked molecules, rotaxanes and knotted rotaxanes, were the subject of this investigation. The necessary building blocks, alkyne-terminated axles containing two ammonium ions and azide-terminated stoppers, and azide-containing substituted macrocycles, have been synthesized and characterized. Different rotaxanes were synthesized by copper-catalyzed “click” reactions between the azide stoppers and pseudorotaxanes formed from the dialkyne axles and crown ethers (DB24C8). Methylation of the triazoles formed by the “click” reaction introduced a second binding site, and switching via deprotonation/protonation was investigated. In preliminary tests for the synthesis of a knotted rotaxane, pseudorotaxanes were formed from azide-containing substituted macrocycles and dialkyne substituted diammonium axles, and copper-catalyzed “click” reactions were carried out. Mass spectral analyses showed successful double “click” reactions between two modified macrocycles and one axle. Whether a knotted rotaxane was formed could not be determined.
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