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  1. Synthesizing doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes requires the use of larger rings than more traditional singly threaded [2]rotaxanes. A key challenge in accessing stable doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes with large rings is finding the right combination of ring to stopper size. In this study, a series of doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes derived from five different sized macrocycles in the size range of 40–48 atoms and two different stopper groups, which contain 1 or 2 tris(p-t-butylbiphenyl)methyl moieties, were prepared and their kinetic stability examined. These interlocked compounds were synthesized using a metal-templated approach and fully characterized utilizing a combination of mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy, and size-exclusion chromatography techniques. The effect of ring size on the stability of the doubly threaded [3]rotaxane was investigated via kinetic stability tests monitored using 1H-NMR spectroscopy. By tightening the macrocycle systematically every 2 atoms from 48 to 40 atoms, a wide range of doubly threaded interlocked molecules could be accessed in which the rate of room temperature slippage of the macrocycle from the dumbbells could be tuned. Using the larger stopper group with a 48-atom ring results in no observable rotaxane, 46–44 atom macrocycles result in metastable rotaxane species with a slippage half-life of ∼5 weeks and ∼9 weeks, respectively, while macrocycles of 42 atoms or smaller yield a stable rotaxane. The smaller sized stopper is not able to fully stabilize any of the [3]rotaxane structures but metastable [3]rotaxanes are obtained with slippage half-lives of 25 ± 2 hours and 13 ± 1 days using macrocycles with 42 or 40 atoms, respectively. These results highlight the dramatic effect that relatively small ring size changes can have on the structure of doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes and lay the synthetic groundwork for a range of higher order doubly threaded interlocked architectures. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 15, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 7, 2024
  3. Ring size is a critically important parameter in many interlocked molecules as it directly impacts many of the unique molecular motions that they exhibit. Reported herein are studies using one of the largest macrocycles reported to date to synthesize doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes. A large ditopic 46 atom macrocycle containing two 2,6-bis( N -alkyl-benzimidazolyl)pyridine ligands has been used to synthesize several metastable doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes in high yield (65–75% isolated) via metal templating. Macrocycle and linear thread components were synthesized and self-assembled upon addition of iron( ii ) ions to form the doubly threaded pseudo[3]rotaxanes that could be subsequently stoppered using azide–alkyne cycloaddition chemistry. Following demetallation with base, these doubly threaded [3]rotaxanes were fully characterized utilizing a variety of NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, size-exclusion chromatography, and all-atom simulation techniques. Critical to the success of accessing a metastable [3]rotaxane with such a large macrocycle was the nature of the stopper group employed. By varying the size of the stopper group it was possible to access metastable [3]rotaxanes with stabilities in deuterated chloroform ranging from a half-life of <1 minute to ca. 6 months at room temperature potentially opening the door to interlocked materials with controllable degradation rates. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Mechanically interlocked polymers (MIPs), polymer architectures that incorporate the mechanical bond, have seen a dramatic growth in interest over the last decade or so. Of particular interest in these architectures are the high mobility and conformational freedom of the interlocked components, which can give rise to unique property profiles. Over the years the research advances, from the chemistry, physics, material science and engineering fields, has started to build an understanding of how incorporating mechanical bonds into a polymer structure impacts its properties. This review focuses on summarizing the state-of-the-art understanding of the structure-property relationships in these materials and an outlook toward their applications, specifically focusing on four main classes of MIPs, polyrotaxanes, slide-ring gels, daisy-chain polymers and polycatenanes. 
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