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Seeing luminescence appear as crystals crumble. Isolation and subsequent self-association of individual [(C6H11NC)2Au]+ ions in crystals

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Abstract

Non-luminescent, isostructural crystals of [(C6H11NC)2Au](EF6)·C6H6 (E = As, Sb) lose benzene upon standing in air to produce green luminescent (E = As) or blue luminescent (E = Sb) powders. Previous studies have shown that the two-coordinate cation, [(C6H11NC)2Au]+, self-associates to form luminescent crystals that contain linear or nearly linear chains of cations and display unusual polymorphic, vapochromic, and/or thermochromic properties. Here, we report the formation of non-luminescent crystalline salts in which individual [(C6H11NC)2Au]+ ions are isolated from one another. In [(C6H11NC)2Au](BArF24) ((BArF24) is tetrakis[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]borate) each cation is surrounded by two anions that prohibit any close approach of the gold ions. Crystallization of [(C6H11NC)2Au](EF6) (E = As or Sb, but not P) from benzene solution produces colorless, non-emissive crystals of the solvates [(C6H11NC)2Au](EF6)·C6H6. These two solvates are isostructural and contain columns in which cations and benzene molecules alternate. With the benzene molecules separating the cations, the shortest distances between gold ions are 6.936(2) Å for E = As and 6.9717(19) Å for E = Sb. Upon removal from the mother liquor, these crystals crack due to the loss of benzene from the crystal and form luminescent powders. Crystals of [(C6H11NC)2Au](SbF6)·C6H6 that powder out form a pale yellow powder with a blue luminescence with emission spectra and powder X-ray diffraction data that show that the previously characterized [(C6H11NC)2Au](SbF6) is formed. In the process, the distances between the gold(I) ions decrease to ∼3 Å and half of the cyclohexyl groups move from an axial orientation to an equatorial one. Remarkably, when crystals of [(C6H11NC)2Au](AsF6)·C6H6 stand in air, they lose benzene and are converted into the yellow, green-luminescent polymorph of [(C6H11NC)2Au](AsF6) rather than the colorless, blue-luminescent polymorph. Paradoxically, the yellow, green-luminescent powder that forms as well as authentic crystals of the yellow, green-luminescent polymorph of [(C6H11NC)2Au](AsF6) are sensitive to benzene vapor and are converted by exposure to benzene vapor into the colorless, blue-luminescent polymorph.

Graphical abstract: Seeing luminescence appear as crystals crumble. Isolation and subsequent self-association of individual [(C6H11NC)2Au]+ ions in crystals

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
13 Jun 2020
Accepted
10 Sep 2020
First published
10 Sep 2020

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Edge Article

Seeing luminescence appear as crystals crumble. Isolation and subsequent self-association of individual [(C6H11NC)2Au]+ ions in crystals

L. M. C. Luong, C. D. Lowe, A. V. Adams, V. Moshayedi, M. M. Olmstead and A. L. Balch, Chem. Sci., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0SC03299A

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