Conformation, Inversion Barrier, and Solvent-Induced Conformational Shift in Exo- and Endo/Exo-Calix[4]arenes

Silvio E. Biali*, Volker Böhmer, Jörg Brenn, Michael Frings, Iris Thondorf, Walter Vogt, Jens Wöhnert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Calixarenes 4a and 4b having hydroxyl groups in endo and exo positions and the ethanediyl-bridged exo-calixarene 5a were synthesized by a stepwise strategy. Single-crystal X-ray structures were obtained for 4a and for the exo-calixarene 3d, showing the molecules to exist in the 1,2-alternate conformation which is also found for 4a,b in solution. The inversion barriers of 4a and 4b (10.3 and 10.8 kcal mol-1) are similar to that determined for the endo-dihydroxycalixarene 12, indicating that the additional intramolecular hydrogen bond between the exo OH groups does not decrease the flexibility of the molecule. In CDCl3 solution exo-calixarene 5a adopts a 1,2-alternate conformation with the methyl group at the bridge located in an axial position, while in DMSO-d6 the conformation adopted is the partial cone. Similar solvent-induced conformational shifts were found for the exo-calixarenes 3b and 3d. MM3 calculations predict that the cone form is the lowest energy conformation of 4 and the exo-calixarenes 3 and 5. The calculations suggest that the conformational preferences of the methyl group at the bridge for either the axial or equatorial positions are in large part determined by the repulsive steric interactions with the hydroxyl groups. The inversion barrier of 4b is satisfactorily reproduced by calculations, which indicate that the rotation of the exo rings is less energetically demanding than the rotation of the endo rings.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8350-8360
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1997


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