A series of novel star-shaped oligofluorene–thiophene–tetrathiafulvalene systems have been synthesised, following different synthetic routes. Each system incorporates a tetrathiafulvalene redox-active centre and four oligofluorene arms, providing a two-dimensional character to the conjugated backbone. The oligomers differ in the number of fluorene units present in the arms (1 to 4) and the terminal groups at the end of each arm (H or trimethylsilyl). Half-unit oligofluorene systems possessing a 1,3-dithiole-2-one core (a known precursor to the tetrathiafulvalene centre) have been synthesised in order to compare the thermal, optical and electrochemical properties. These half-unit systems consist of a 1,3-dithiole-2-one core fused to a thiophene unit at the 3- and 4-positions. Two oligofluorene arms consisting of 1 to 4 monomer units per arm are positioned at the 4- and 6-positions of the thiophene unit, affording extended conjugation through the thiophene centre. The half-unit systems are found to be moderate emitters in solution, however, the star-shaped systems bearing the tetrathiafulvalene core exhibit inhibited fluorescence in both solution and the solid state. We have demonstrated that the emission of the tetrathiafulvalene systems can be enhanced through the oxidation of the redox-centre followed by a consecutive reaction of the strongly electrophilic tetrathiafulvalene dication with such nucleophiles as water and hydrazine. The result of these reactions leads to an increase in the photoluminescence of these systems, affording the opportunity for the tetrathiafulvalene materials to be used as photonic materials in moisture indicators.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Recent Open Access Articles, Photonics and Functional Organic Materials for Optoelectronic Applications