Imine metathesis between m-phenylene ethynylene oligomers of various lengths was performed in acetonitrile, a solvent in which oligomers containing eight or more repeat units adopt a compact helical conformation. The equilibrium constants and corresponding free energy change for the imine metathesis reactions were estimated. The results showed that the magnitude of equilibrium shifting measured by the free energy change for the formation of imine-containing oligomers increases linearly below a critical product chain length and grows asymptotically above it. The linear region is ascribed to the constant increase in contact area between monomer units of adjacent helical turns as the product chain grows to the 12-mer. Once the ligation product is 12 units in length, full contact is made between adjacent helical turns. On the other hand, for imine metathesis between oligomers leading to products having more than 12 units, the driving force is the difference between the folding energy of products and that of reactants. The additional stabilizing energy is roughly constant, regardless of the chain length, since the contact area between adjacent helical turns is unchanged. Consistent with the notion that the imine bond only minimally destabilizes the helical conformation, the position of the imine bond in the ligation product has been observed to have no significant effect on the folding stability. The magnitudes of equilibrium shifting are similar for ligation products of the same length but having the imine at various positions along the sequence. This suggests that the imine bond is compatible with the m-phenylene ethynylene backbone, regardless of the position in the sequence. Imine metathesis of m-phenylene ethynylene oligomers could allow a quick access to an unbiased, dynamic library of oligomer sequences joined by imine linkages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry