In the last few years there has been a significant growth of interest in performing different types of reactions in confined nanometer-scale spaces taking inspiration from the biological reactions catalysed by natural enzyme in their hydrophobic pocket. In fact, the confinement of the substrates within a molecular container can lead to new reactivities and selectivities different from those normally observed in the bulk medium. Resorcinarene hexameric capsules , have been already exploited as nanoreactors thanks to their ease of preparation, their large cavity, and their ability to encapsulate different substrates and stabilize cationic intermediate. Our group recently highlighted that the hydrogen-bond-donor capabilities of the bridging water molecules of the capsule are able to promote the Friedel-Crafts benzylation reaction with high efficiency and regioselectivity. On this basis, we envisioned that this capability of the hexameric resorcinarene capsule could play a role in the catalysis of Michael addition of pyrrole to electron-deficient nitroolefins through the hydrogen-bonding activation of the nitroolefin and we herein report our recent results.
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