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Self-Assembly of Tris(2-ureidobenzyl)amines: A New Type of Capped, Capsule-Like Dimeric Aggregates Derived from a Highly Flexible Skeleton



A set of tris(2-ureidobenzyl)amines 3 was prepared and their dimerization processes thoroughly investigated. In spite of their inherent flexibility, tris(ureas) 3 form dimeric aggregates both in the solid state and in solution. Evidence for the existence of these dimeric species was provided by a combination of techniques (X-ray analysis, NMR and IR spectroscopy, and ESI-MS). The association constants and thermodynamic parameters for the dimerization processes of selected tris(ureas) were determined and show that they are enthalpically driven. Heterodimerization experiments in solution reveal a high degree of self-recognition or narcissistic self-sorting. On the other hand, desymmetrized tris(ureas) derived from 3 self-assemble with modest regioselectivities depending on the terminal substituent of every urea functionality.