A light-driven pseudorotaxane 1, based on α-cyclodextrin (α-CyD) and cucurbituril (CB), is prepared in an easy and convenient manner. The reference pseudorotaxane 2 and pseudorotaxane 2′ are obtained via the insertion of α-CyD and CB onto the dumbbell 3, thus including an azobenzene unit and two viologen moieties, respectively. The CyD macrocycle in pseudorotaxane 1 can be photochemically stimulated to shuttle accompanied with obvious induced circular dichroism (ICD) signals. The ICD performances of these pseudorotaxanes, including ICD in aqueous solution, variable-temperature ICD, ICD in confected hydrogel systems and in solid-state films, are investigated for their conformational identification. The photo-driven shuttling of the CyD macrocycle in pseudorotaxane 1 is easier than in the CyD-based pseudorotaxane 2, especially in non-solution media. This can be attributed to the space exploitation of CB-included parts, which aid the movement of α-CyD.
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