Supramolecular Chemistry And Self-assembly Special Feature: Anion-templated self-assembly of tetrahedral cage complexes of cobalt(II) with bridging ligands containing two bidentate pyrazolyl-pyridine binding sites
The bridging ligands L1 and L2 contain two N,N-bidentate pyrazolyl-pyridine units linked to a central aromatic spacer unit (1,2-phenyl or 2,3-naphthyl, respectively). Reaction with Ni(II) salts and treatment with the anions tetrafluoroborate or perchlorate result in formation of dinuclear complexes having a 2:3 metal:ligand ratio, with one bridging and two terminal tetradentate ligands. In contrast, reaction of L1 and L2 with Co(II) salts, followed by treatment with tetrafluoroborate or perchlorate, results in assembly of cage complexes having a 4:6 metal:ligand ratio; these complexes have a metal ion at each corner of an approximate tetrahedron, and a bis-bidentate bridging ligand spanning each edge. The central cavity is occupied by a tetrahedral counterion that forms multiple hydrogen-bonding interactions with the methylene protons of the bridging ligands. The anionic guest fits tightly into the central cavity of the cage to which it is ideally complementary in terms of shape, size, and charge. Solution NMR experiments show that the central anion acts as a template for cage formation, with a mixture of Co(II) and the appropriate bridging ligand alone giving no assembly into a cage until the tetrahedral anion is added, at which point cage assembly is fast and quantitative. The difference between the structures of the complexes with Ni(II) and Co(II) illustrate how the uncoordinated anions can exert a profound influence on the course of the assembly process.