Quinoline-containing diarylethenes: bridging between turn-on fluorescence, RGB switching and room temperature phosphorescence†
Simple structural modifications using oxidation and methylation of a quinoline-containing diarylethene result in dramatic variation of photophysical properties. Turn-on fluorescence, room temperature phosphorescence (RTP) and red-green-blue (RGB) switching were achieved in three different related compounds. Photoswitchable diarylethenes (DAEs) that exhibit turn-on fluorescence are in high demand for super-resolution microscopy, and the development of purely organic phosphorescent materials in the amorphous state is attractive but challenging. The findings reported here provide a novel toolkit for designing turn-on fluorescence DAEs for super-resolution microscopy and extending the scope of amorphous RTP materials. More importantly, we bridge between these two fundamentally significant photochemical and photophysical phenomena, and reveal structure–property relationships between DAE photochromism and RTP.