Reversible Mutarotation in a Macrocyclic Ytterbium Complex



M40 is a four-fold symmetry macrocyclic ligand endowed with axial and central chiral elements, all of R configuration. It promptly binds late lanthanides (YbIII and LuIII) yielding a negative helicity, as witnessed by NIR-electronic circular dichroism. In the course of a few hours, a new conformation of the complex takes over, which has opposite helicity and allows for a dynamic free-bound equilibrium. Upon slow solvent evaporation, the original conformation is retrieved and the whole dynamic process can be started again, as in a sandclock, allowing one to envisage applications as a time-marker chiral switch.