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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 »
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.