Substituent effects on aromatic stacking interactions

Org Biomol Chem. 2007 Apr 7;5(7):1062-80. doi: 10.1039/b617576g. Epub 2007 Mar 7.


Synthetic supramolecular zipper complexes have been used to quantify substituent effects on the free energies of aromatic stacking interactions. The conformational properties of the complexes have been characterised using NMR spectroscopy in CDCl(3), and by comparison with the solid state structures of model compounds. The structural similarity of the complexes makes it possible to apply the double mutant cycle method to evaluate the magnitudes of 24 different aromatic stacking interactions. The major trends in the interaction energy can be rationalised using a simple model based on electrostatic interactions between the pi-faces of the two aromatic rings. However, electrostatic interactions between the substituents of one ring and the pi-face of the other make an additional contribution, due to the slight offset in the stacking geometry. This property makes aromatic stacking interactions particularly sensitive to changes in orientation as well as the nature and location of substituents.

MeSH terms

  • Aniline Compounds / chemical synthesis*
  • Aniline Compounds / chemistry*
  • Binding Sites
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phthalic Acids / chemical synthesis*
  • Phthalic Acids / chemistry
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Aniline Compounds
  • Phthalic Acids
  • isophthalate