Selective isolation of gold facilitated by second-sphere coordination with α-cyclodextrin

Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3113, USA.
Nature Communications (Impact Factor: 11.47). 05/2013; 4:1855. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2891
Source: PubMed


Gold recovery using environmentally benign chemistry is imperative from an environmental perspective. Here we report the spontaneous assembly of a one-dimensional supramolecular complex with an extended {[K(OH2)6][AuBr4](α-cyclodextrin)2}n chain superstructure formed during the rapid co-precipitation of α-cyclodextrin and KAuBr4 in water. This phase change is selective for this gold salt, even in the presence of other square-planar palladium and platinum complexes. From single-crystal X-ray analyses of six inclusion complexes between α-, β- and γ-cyclodextrins with KAuBr4 and KAuCl4, we hypothesize that a perfect match in molecular recognition between α-cyclodextrin and [AuBr4](-) leads to a near-axial orientation of the ion with respect to the α-cyclodextrin channel, which facilitates a highly specific second-sphere coordination involving [AuBr4](-) and [K(OH2)6](+) and drives the co-precipitation of the 1:2 adduct. This discovery heralds a green host-guest procedure for gold recovery from gold-bearing raw materials making use of α-cyclodextrin-an inexpensive and environmentally benign carbohydrate.

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