When equimolar solutions of the enantiomeric naphthalenediimide-based highly rigid triangles R-Δ and S-Δ in ClCH2CH2Cl are mixed, the racemate rac-Δ forms an organogel that is composed of interwoven fibers, resulting from the columnar stacking of the triangles in an alternating R-Δ/S-Δ fashion. Under identical conditions, the pure enantiomers do not form organogels. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the racemic RS dimer is more stable than the RR dimer as a result of the enantiomeric relationship between R-Δ and S-Δ, allowing them to act as two complementary rings comprised of 12 [C-H···O] interactions with an unprecedented and uninterrupted circular ADDAADDAADDA·DAADDAADDAAD alignment of hydrogen bond donors (D) and acceptors (A), in contrast with the square-wave manner in which the RR dimer forms a complementary yet interrupted ADADAD·DADADA circular sequence of six longer [C-H⋯O] hydrogen bonds. It follows that gelation is favored by weak interactions acting cooperatively in rings under precise stereoelectronic control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry