Redox-Responsive Covalent Organic Nanosheets from Viologens and Calix[4]arene for Iodine and Toxic Dye Capture

Tina Skorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Sudhir Kumar Sharma, Jesus Raya, Hassan Traboulsi, Dong Suk Han, Jayesh Lalla, Ryan Newlon, Ramesh Jagannathan, Serdal Kirmizialtin, John Carl Olsen, Ali Trabolsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Owing to their chemical and thermal stabilities, high uptake capacities, and easy recyclability, covalent organic polymers (COPs) have shown promise as pollutant sponges. Herein, we describe the use of diazo coupling to synthesize two cationic COPs, COP1++ and COP2++, that incorporate a viologen-based molecular switch and an organic macrocycle, calix[4]arene. The COPs form nanosheets that have height profiles of 6.00 nm and 8.00 nm, respectively, based on AFM measurements. The sheets remain morphologically intact upon one- or two-electron reductions of their viologen subunits. MD simulations of the COPs containing dicationic viologens indicate that the calix[4]arenes adopt a partial cone conformation and that, in height, the individual 2D polymer layers are 5.48 Å in COP1++ and 5.65 Å in COP2++, which, together with the AFM measurements, suggests that the nanosheets are composed of 11 and 14 layers, respectively. Whether their viologens are in dicationic, radical cationic, or neutral form, the COPs exhibit high affinity for iodine, reaching up to 200 % mass increase when exposed to iodine vapor at 70 °C, which makes the materials among the best-performing nanosheets for iodine capture reported in the literature. In addition, the COPs effectively remove Congo red from solution in the pH range of 2–10, reaching nearly 100 % removal within 15 minutes at acidic pH.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)8648-8655
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number34
StatePublished - 18 Jun 2018


  • calix[4]arenes
  • Congo red
  • iodine capture
  • nanosheets
  • viologen


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