: Temporal control of molecular motions is receiving increasing attention because it is central to the development of molecular switches and motors and nanoscopic materials with life-like properties. Inspired by previous studies, here, we report that acid 12 can be used to temporally control the conformational freedom around the C-C bond connecting the two aromatic rings of the ditopic bases 4 and 5. Consistent with NMR measurements and DFT calculations, before fuel addition, the conformational motion of the two aromatic rings of both 4 and 5 mainly consists of a large amplitude torsional oscillation spanning about 260° and passing for the anti conformation (the two nitrogen atoms at opposite sides). Immediately after the addition of 12, due to the protonation of one nitrogen and consequent formation of an N-H···N intramolecular hydrogen bond, the torsional oscillation in both 4H+ and 5H+ is not only restricted to a smaller range (about 100°) but explores the previously forbidden conformational space around the syn conformation (the two nitrogen atoms at the same side). However, the new state is an out-of-equilibrium state since decarboxylation of the conjugate base of 12 takes place and, at the end of the process, the system reverts to the more conformationally mobile state.
Controlling the Conformation of 2-Dimethylaminobiphenyls by Transient Intramolecular Hydrogen Bonding / Del Giudice, Daniele; Valentini, Matteo; Sappino, Carla; Spatola, Emanuele; Murru, Aurora; Ercolani, Gianfranco; DI STEFANO, Stefano. - In: JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. - ISSN 1520-6904. - 88:7(2023), pp. 4379-4386. [10.1021/acs.joc.2c02992]