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Issue 10, 2015
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Cyclopenta[b]naphthalene cyanoacrylate dyes: synthesis and evaluation as fluorescent molecular rotors

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Abstract

We describe the design, synthesis and fluorescent profile of a family of environment-sensitive dyes in which a dimethylamino (donor) group is conjugated to a cyanoacrylate (acceptor) unit via a cyclopenta[b]naphthalene ring system. This assembly satisfies the typical D–π-A motif of a fluorescent molecular rotor and exhibits solvatochromic and viscosity-sensitive fluorescence emission. The central naphthalene ring system of these dyes was synthesized via a novel intramolecular dehydrogenative dehydro-Diels–Alder (IDDDA) reaction that permits incorporation of the donor and acceptor groups in variable positions around the aromatic core. A bathochromic shift of excitation and emission peaks was observed with increasing solvent polarity but the dyes exhibited a complex emission pattern with a second red emission band when dissolved in nonpolar solvents. Consistent with other known molecular rotors, the emission intensity increased with increasing viscosity. Interestingly, closer spatial proximity between the donor and the acceptor groups led to decreased viscosity sensitivity combined with an increased quantum yield. This observation indicates that structural hindrance of intramolecular rotation dominates when the donor and acceptor groups are in close proximity. The examined compounds give insight into how excited state intramolecular rotation can be influenced by both the solvent and the chemical structure.

Graphical abstract: Cyclopenta[b]naphthalene cyanoacrylate dyes: synthesis and evaluation as fluorescent molecular rotors

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Article information


Submitted
08 Dec 2014
Accepted
13 Jan 2015
First published
13 Jan 2015

Org. Biomol. Chem., 2015,13, 2965-2973
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Cyclopenta[b]naphthalene cyanoacrylate dyes: synthesis and evaluation as fluorescent molecular rotors

L. S. Kocsis, K. M. Elbel, B. A. Hardigree, K. M. Brummond, M. A. Haidekker and E. A. Theodorakis, Org. Biomol. Chem., 2015, 13, 2965
DOI: 10.1039/C4OB02563F

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