Controlling the structure and photophysics of fluorophore dimers using multiple cucurbituril clampings†
A modular strategy has been employed to develop a new class of fluorescent molecules, which generates discrete, dimeric stacked fluorophores upon complexation with multiple cucurbituril macrocycles. The multiple constraints result in a “static” complex (remaining as a single entity for more than 30 ms) and facilitate fluorophore coupling in the ground state, showing a significant bathochromic shift in absorption and emission. This modular design is surprisingly applicable and flexible and has been validated through an investigation of nine different fluorophore cores ranging in size, shape, and geometric variation of their clamping modules. All fluorescent dimers evaluated can be photo-excited to atypical excimer-like states with elongated excited lifetimes (up to 37 ns) and substantially high quantum yields (up to 1). This strategy offers a straightforward preparation of discrete fluorophore dimers, providing promising model systems with explicitly stable dimeric structures and tunable photophysical features, which can be utilized to study various intermolecular processes.