The modular syntheses of three new octadentate, enantiopure ligands are reported, one with the bidentate chelating unit 2-hydroxyisophthalamide (IAM) and two with bidentate 1-hydroxy-2-pyridinone (1,2-HOPO) units. A new design principle is introduced for the chiral, non-racemic hexamines which constitute the central backbones for the presented class of ligands. The terbium(III) complex of the IAM ligand, as well as the europium(III) complexes of the 1,2-HOPO ligands, are synthesized and characterized by various techniques (NMR, UV, CD, luminescence spectroscopy). All species exhibit excellent stability and moderate to high luminescence efficiency (quantum yields ΦEu = 0.05−0.08 and ΦTb = 0.30−0.57) in aqueous solution at physiological pH. Special focus is put onto the properties of the complexes in regard to circularly polarized luminescence (CPL). The maximum luminescence dissymmetry factors (glum) in aqueous solution are high with glummax = 0.08−0.40. Together with the very favorable general properties (good stability, high quantum yields, long lifetimes), the presented lanthanide complexes can be considered as good candidates for analytical probes based on CPL in biologically relevant environments.
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