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Supramolecular Chemistry


A simple analytical LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) method and associated instrumentation has been adapted for use by the organic chemist to yield mg quantities of target compound from a reaction mixture. Calix[4]arene 3 was identified as representing 51% of total peak area of a reaction mixture containing no less than 10 components, using LC-MS. This peak corresponded to a mass of 878.8, equivalent to a complex of 3 and an ammonium cation. Molecular models further rationalise this observation by showing that the asymmetric binding cavity of 3 is suitable for binding tetrahedral guests like the ammonium ion. By scaling up the LC method, using analytical instrumentation, 55mg of 98% pure 3 were isolated with a recovery yield of 90% in 1 hr. The current method represents a powerful and easily adapted tool for monitoring a challenging synthesis which combines identification, efficient separation and partial characterisation for reaction mixture components using readily available instrumentation and methods.