Mechanically triggered reversible stepwise tricolor switching and thermochromism of anthracene-o-carborane dyad†
A novel single organic molecule–carborane conjugate, CAN, was synthesized in a high yield via a modified nickel-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction incorporating an anthracene unit and an o-carborane moiety. CAN exhibits multiple functions of tricolored mechanochromism and mechanically triggered thermochromism. The fluorescence could be switched from blue to bright yellow then to pink by grinding. The robust and reversible thermochromic process was triggered by the mechanical force. The locally excited (LE) state emission, intermolecular excimer formation and twisted intermolecular charge transfer (TICT) are the primary origins of this tricolor switching property. High temperature sensitivity of the heavily ground CAN powders contribute to the mechanical force induced TICT emission enhancement and color switching.