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Title: Coordination cages for the separation and transportation of molecular cargo
Author: Grommet, Angela B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 5746
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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The first chapter of this thesis introduces the fundamental concepts governing the design and synthesis of supramolecular complexes. By illustrating the synthesis of several coordination cages reported in the literature, the principles underlying the construction of coordination cages by subcomponent self-assembly are elucidated. Ionic liquids are then proposed as solvents for cage systems; general methods for the preparation and synthesis of these solvents are described. The second chapter explores the use of ionic liquids as solvents for existing coordination cages. Potential methods of characterising these cages in ionic liquids are discussed; cages are demonstrated to be stable and capable of encapsulating guests in these ionic environments; and systems in which cages have good solubility in ionic liquids are designed. Building upon these observations, a triphasic sorting system is presented such that each of three different host-guest complexes are soluble in only one of three immiscible liquid phases. In contrast to the static triphasic system described in the second chapter, the third chapter explores directed phase transfer of coordination cages and their cargos from water, across a phase interface, and into an ionic liquid phase. The host-guest complex can then be recycled from the ionic liquid layer back into water after several additional steps. Furthermore, phase transfer of cationic cages is used to separate a mixture of cationic and anionic host-guest complexes. In the fourth chapter, fully reversible phase transfer of coordination cages is developed. Using anion exchange to modulate the solubility of three different cationic cages, reversible transport between water and ethyl acetate is demonstrated. Sequential phase transfer can also be achieved such that, from a mixture of cubic (+16) and tetrahedral (+8) cages, the cubic cage transfers from water to ethyl acetate before the tetrahedral cage. This process is fully reversible; upon the addition of a hydrophilic anion, the tetrahedral cage returns from ethyl acetate to water before the cubic cage.
Supervisor: Nitschke, Jonathan R. Sponsor: European Research Council ; Cambridge Trusts
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: coordination cages ; supramolecular chemistry ; host-guest chemistry ; phase transfer ; ionic liquids ; molecular separations