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  1. The electronically excited singlet states of nitroaromatic compounds are often presumed to be essentially non-fluorescent. Nonetheless, a growing number of reports in the literature have demonstrated that certain structural types of nitroaromatics can indeed fluoresce, and often quite efficiently. Consideration of the mechanisms responsible for the typical fast or ultrafast non-radiative deactivation of the excited singlet states of nitroaromatics points to several general principles for their design that combine the strong electron-withdrawing properties of the nitro group with reasonable fluorescence quantum yields. An overview of published examples of fluorescent nitroaromatics emphasizes these concepts in the context of the importance of chromophore architecture and conformation and the defining roles of excited state charge transfer and solvent polarity in modulating the non-radiative decay channels that compete with fluorescence. Overcoming the stigma that nitroaromatics are intrinsically destined to be non-fluorescent thus paves the way for incorporating the strongly electron-withdrawing nitro group into the existing toolbox for the development of new nitro-substituted fluorophores and chromophores tuned to specific applications.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 24, 2023
  2. A two-step route to strongly absorbing and efficiently orange to deep red fluorescent, doubly B/N-doped, ladder-type pyrrolo[3,2- b ]pyrroles has been developed. We synthesize and study a series of derivatives of these four-coordinate boron-containing, nominally quadrupolar materials, which mostly exhibit one-photon absorption in the 500–600 nm range with the peak molar extinction coefficients reaching 150 000, and emission in the 520–670 nm range with the fluorescence quantum yields reaching 0.90. Within the family of these ultrastable dyes even small structural changes lead to significant variations of the photophysical properties, in some cases attributed to reversal of energy ordering of alternate-parity excited electronic states. Effective preservation of ground-state inversion symmetry was evidenced by very weak two-photon absorption (2PA) at excitation wavelengths corresponding to the lowest-energy, strongly one-photon allowed purely electronic transition. π-Expanded derivatives and those possessing electron-donating groups showed the most red-shifted absorption- and emission spectra, while displaying remarkably high peak 2PA cross-section ( σ 2PA ) values reaching ∼2400 GM at around 760 nm, corresponding to a two-photon allowed higher-energy excited state. At the same time, derivatives lacking π-expansion were found to have a relatively weak 2PA peak centered at ca. 800–900 nm with the maximum σ 2PA ∼50–250 GM. Ourmore »findings are augmented by theoretical calculations performed using TD-DFT method, which reproduce the main experimental trends, including the 2PA, in a nearly quantitative manner. Electrochemical studies revealed that the HOMO of the new dyes is located at ca . −5.35 eV making them relatively electron rich in spite of the presence of two B − –N + dative bonds. These dyes undergo a fully reversible first oxidation, located on the diphenylpyrrolo[3,2- b ]pyrrole core, directly to the di(radical cation) stage.« less
  3. Abstract In the first two decades of the XXI century, corroles have emerged as an important class of porphyrinoids for photonics and biomedical photonics. In comparison with porphyrins, corroles have lower molecular symmetry and higher electron density, which leads to uniquely complementary properties. In macrocycles of free-base corroles, for example, three protons are distributed among four pyrrole nitrogens. It results in distinct tautomers that have different thermodynamic energies. Herein, we focus on the excited-state dynamics of a corrole modified with l -phenylalanine. The tautomerization in the singlet-excited state occurs in the timescales of about 10–100 picoseconds and exhibits substantial kinetic isotope effects. It, however, does not discernably affect nanosecond deactivation of the photoexcited corrole and its basic photophysics. Nevertheless, this excited-state tautomerization dynamics can strongly affect photoinduced processes with comparable or shorter timescales, considering the 100-meV energy differences between the tautomers in the excited state. The effects on the kinetics of charge transfer and energy transfer, initiated prior to reaching the equilibrium thermalization of the excited-state tautomer population, can be indeed substantial. Such considerations are crucially important in the design of systems for artificial photosynthesis and other forms of energy conversion and charge transduction.
  4. Nitroaromatics seldom fluoresce. The importance of electron-deficient (n-type) conjugates, however, has inspired a number of strategies for suppressing the emission-quenching effects of the strongly electron-withdrawing nitro group. Here, we demonstrate how such strategies yield fluorescent nitroaryl derivatives of dipyrrolonaphthyridinedione (DPND). Nitro groups near the DPND core quench its fluorescence. Conversely, nitro groups placed farther from the core allow some of the highest fluorescence quantum yields ever recorded for nitroaromatics. This strategy of preventing the known processes that compete with photoemission, however, leads to the emergence of unprecedented alternative mechanisms for fluorescence quenching, involving transitions to dark nπ* singlet states and aborted photochemistry. Forming nπ* triplet states from ππ* singlets is a classical pathway for fluorescence quenching. In nitro-DPNDs, however, these ππ* and nπ* excited states are both singlets, and they are common for nitroaryl conjugates. Understanding the excited-state dynamics of such nitroaromatics is crucial for designing strongly fluorescent electron-deficient conjugates.
  5. Elucidating the factors that control charge transfer rates in relatively flexible conjugates is of importance for understanding energy flows in biology as well as assisting the design and construction of electronic devices. Here, we report ultrafast electron transfer (ET) and hole transfer (HT) between a corrole (Cor) donor linked to a perylene-diimide (PDI) acceptor by a tetrameric alanine (Ala) 4 . Selective photoexcitation of the donor and acceptor triggers subpicosecond and picosecond ET and HT. Replacement of the (Ala) 4 linker with either a single alanine or phenylalanine does not substantially affect the ET and HT kinetics. We infer that electronic coupling in these reactions is not mediated by tetrapeptide backbone nor by direct donor–acceptor interactions. Employing a combination of NMR, circular dichroism, and computational studies, we show that intramolecular hydrogen bonding brings the donor and the acceptor into proximity in a “scorpion-shaped” molecular architecture, thereby accounting for the unusually high ET and HT rates. Photoinduced charge transfer relies on a (Cor)NH … O=C–NH … O=C(PDI) electronic-coupling pathway involving two pivotal hydrogen bonds and a central amide group as a mediator. Our work provides guidelines for construction of effective donor–acceptor assemblies linked by long flexible bridges as well as insightsmore »into structural motifs for mediating ET and HT in proteins.« less
  6. Abstract

    Electron-deficient π-conjugated functional dyes lie at the heart of organic optoelectronics. Adding nitro groups to aromatic compounds usually quenches their fluorescence via inter-system crossing (ISC) or internal conversion (IC). While strong electronic coupling of the nitro groups with the dyes ensures the benefits from these electron-withdrawing substituents, it also leads to fluorescence quenching. Here, we demonstrate how such electronic coupling affects the photophysics of acceptor–donor–acceptor fluorescent dyes, with nitrophenyl acceptors and a pyrrolo[3,2-b]pyrrole donor. The position of the nitro groups and the donor-acceptor distance strongly affect the fluorescence properties of thebis-nitrotetraphenylpyrrolopyrroles. Concurrently, increasing solvent polarity quenches the emission that recovers upon solidifying the media. Intramolecular charge transfer (CT) and molecular dynamics, therefore, govern the fluorescence of these nitro-aromatics. While balanced donor-acceptor coupling ensures fast radiative deactivation and slow ISC essential for large fluorescence quantum yields, vibronic borrowing accounts for medium dependent IC via back CT. These mechanistic paradigms set important design principles for molecular photonics and electronics.

  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 26, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 26, 2023