Although recognition of hard anions by hard metal ions is primarily achieved via direct coordination, electrostatic and hydrogen-bonding interactions also play essential roles in tuning the affinity of such supramolecular receptors for their target. In the case of EuIII hydroxypyridinone-based complexes, the addition of a single charged group (-NH3 +, -CO2 -, or -SO3 -) or neutral hydrogen-bonding moiety (-OH) peripheral to the open coordination site substantially affects the affinity of the metal receptor for phosphate in water at neutral pH. A single primary ammonium increases the first association constant for phosphate in neutral water by 2 orders of magnitude over its neutral analogue. The addition of a peripheral alcohol group also increases the affinity of the receptor but to a lesser degree (21-fold). On the other hand, negatively charged complexes bearing either a carboxylate or sulfate moiety have negligible affinity for phosphate. Interestingly, the peripheral group also influences the stoichiometry of the lanthanide receptor for phosphate. While the complex bearing a -NH3 + group binds phosphate in a 1:2 ratio, those with -OH and H (control) both form 1:3 complexes. Although the positively charged EuIII-Lys-HOPO has the highest Ka1 for phosphate, a greater increase in luminescence intensity (36-fold) is observed with the neutral EuIII-Ser-HOPO complex. Notably, whereas the affinity of the EuIII complexes for phosphate is substantially influenced by the presence of a single charged group or hydrogen-bond donor, their selectivity for phosphate over competing anions remains unaffected by the addition of the peripheral groups.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript. The authors acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation provided by INFEWS N/P/H2O:SusChEM CHE-1610832. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
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