The selective uptake of guests by capsules, cages, and containers, and porous solid-state materials such as zeolites and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), is generally controlled by pore size and by the dimensions and chemical properties of interior host domains. For soluble and solid-state structures, however, few options are available for modifying their outer pores to impart chemoselectivity to the uptake of similarly sized guests. We now show that by using alkane-coated gold cores as structural building units (SBUs) for the hydrophobic self-assembly of water-soluble suprasphere hosts, ligand exchange can be used to tailor the chemical properties at the pores that provide access to their interiors. For polar polyethylene glycol functionalized ligands, occupancies after equal times increase linearly with the dipole moments of chloro-, nitro-dichloro-, and dinitro-(o-, m-, and p-) benzene guests. Selectivity is reversed, however, upon incorporation of hydrophobic ligands. The findings demonstrate how self-assembled gold-core SBUs, with replaceable ligands, inherently provide for rationally introducing finely tuned and quantitatively predictable chemoselectivity to host-guest chemistry in water.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry