New forms of molecular nanocarbons particularly looped polyarenes adopting various topologies contribute to the fundamental science and practical applications. Here we report on the synthesis of an infinity-shaped polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, infinitene 1 (cyclo[c.c.c.c.c.c.e.e.e.e.e.e]dodecakisbenzene) comprising consecutively fused 12-benzene rings forming an enclosed loop with a strain energy of 60.2 kcal·mol-1. Infinitene 1 represents a topoisomer of still-hypothetical circulene, and its scaffold can be formally visualized as the outcome of the “stitching” of two homochiral helicene subunits by their both ends. The synthetic strategy encompasses transformation of a rationally designed dithiacyclophane to cyclophadiene through the Stevens rearrangement and pyrolysis of the corresponding S,S′-bis(oxide) followed by the UV-light mediated twofold photocyclization. The structure of infinitene 1 is a unique hybrid of helicene and circulene with a molecular formula C48H24, which can be regarded as an isomer for kekulene, [6,6]carbon nanobelt ([6,6]CNB), cyclacene, and tetrabenzocirculene as well. Infinitene 1 is a bench-stable yellow solid with green fluorescence, and soluble to common organic solvents. The figure-eight molecular structure of 1 was unambiguously confirmed by X-ray crystallography. The scaffold of 1, reminiscent of a squeezed spring, stem from its enclosed, fully-fused architecture, is significantly compressed as manifested by a remarkably shortened distance (3.152–3.192 Å) between the centroids of two π-π stacked central benzene rings and the closest C···C distance of 2.920 Å. Combined lamellar and herringbone-like crystal packing suggested three-dimensional electronic inter-actions. Fundamental photophysical properties of infinitene 1 were thoroughly elucidated by means of UV-vis absorption and fluorescence spectroscopic studies as well as density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Its configurational stability enabled separation of the corresponding enantiomers (P,P) and (M,M) by a chiral HPLC. Circular dichroism (CD) and circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) measurements revealed that 1 has moderate |gCD| and |gCPL| values.
cif file of infinitene