A Visible–Near-Infrared Light-Responsive Host–Guest Pair with Nanomolar Affinity in Water

Pedro Ferreira, Barbara Ventura, Andrea Barbieri, José P. da Silva, César A. T. Laia, A. Jorge Parola, Nuno Basílio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of stimuli-responsive high affinity host–guest pairs with potential applications under biologically relevant conditions is a challenging goal. This work reports a high-affinity 1:1 complex formed between cucurbit[8]uril and a water-soluble photochromic diarylethene derivative. It was found that, by confining the open isomer within the cavity of the receptor, a redshift in the absorption spectrum and an enhancement of the photocyclization quantum yield from Φ=0.04 to Φ=0.32 were induced. This improvement in the photochemical performance enables quantitative photocyclization with visible light that, together with the near-infrared light-induced ring-opening reaction and the 100-fold selectivity for the closed isomer, confirms this as an outstanding light-responsive affinity pair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3477-3482
Number of pages6
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019


  • affinity pairs
  • cucurbiturils
  • diarylethenes
  • host–guest systems
  • photoresponsive assemblies


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