Experimental evidence for interactions between anions and electron-deficient aromatic rings

Orion B. Berryman, Darren W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


This feature article summarizes our research aimed at using electron-deficient aromatic rings to bind anions in the context of complementary research in this active field. Particular attention is paid to the different types of interactions exhibited between anions and electron-deficient arenes in solution. The 120+ references cited in this article underscore the flurry of recent activity by numerous researchers in this field, which was relatively nascent when our efforts began in 2005. While the interaction of anions with electron-deficient aromatic rings has recently garnered much attention by supramolecular chemists, the observation of these interactions is not a recent discovery. Therefore, we begin with a historical perspective on early examples of anions interacting with electron-deficient arenes. An introduction to recent (and not so recent) computational investigations concerning anions and electron-deficient aromatic rings as well as a brief structural survey of crystalline examples of this interaction are provided. Finally, the limited solution-based observations of anions interacting with electron-deficient aromatic rings are summarized to introduce our current investigations in this area. We highlight three different systems from our lab where anion-arene interactions have been investigated. First, we show that tandem hydrogen bonds and anion-arene interactions augment halide binding in solution. Second, a crystallographic and computational study highlights the multiple types of interactions possible between anions and electron-deficient arenes. Third, we summarize the first example of a class of designed receptors that emphasize the different types of anion-arene interactions possible in solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3143-3153
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Communications
Issue number22
StatePublished - 2009


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