Synthesis of yellow and red fluorescent 1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes and the theoretical investigation of their optical properties†
To expand the originally developed fluorescent 1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes as fluorescent labelling reagents, the fluorescence wavelength of the 1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes was extended to the red color region. Based on the noteworthy correlation of the fluorescence wavelength with the inductive effect of the 2-substituent, electron-deficient 2-(2-cyano-4-methoxycarbonylphenyl)-1,3a,6a-triazapentalene and 2-(2,6-dicyano-4-methoxycarbonylphenyl)-1,3a,6a-triazapentalene were synthesized. The former exhibited yellow fluorescence and the latter exhibited red fluorescence, and both compounds exhibited large Stokes shifts, and the 1,3a,6a-triazapentalene system enabled the same fluorescent chromophore to cover the entire region of visible wavelengths. The potential applications of the 1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes as fluorescent probes in the fields of the life sciences were investigated, and the 1,3a,6a-triazapentalene system was clearly proven to be useful as a fluorescent reagent for live cell imaging. Quantum chemical calculations were performed to investigate the optical properties of the 1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes. These calculations revealed that the excitation involves a significant charge-transfer from the 1,3a,6a-triazapentalene skeleton to the 2-substituent. The calculated absorption and fluorescence wavelengths showed a good correlation with the experimental ones, and thus the system could enable the theoretical design of substituents with the desired optical properties.