What Makes Oxidized N‑Acylanthranilamides Stable?

Oligoamides composed of anthranilic acid derivatives present a promising choice for mediating long-range charge transfer and controlling its directionality. Hole hopping, modulated by the anthranilamide (Aa) permanent dipoles, provides a plausible means for such rectified long-range charge transduction. All aliphatic and most aromatic amides, however, decompose upon oxidation, rendering them unacceptable for hole-hopping pathways. We, therefore, employ electrochemical and computational analysis to examine how to suppress oxidative degradation and stabilize the radical cations of N-acylated Aa derivatives. Our findings reveal two requirements for attaining long-lived radical cations of these aromatic amides: (1) keeping the reduction potentials for oxidizing the Aa residues under about 1.4 V vs SCE and (2) adding an electron-donating group para to the N-terminal amide of the aromatic ring, which prevents the electron spin density of the radical cation from extending over the C-terminal amide. These findings provide essential information for the design of hole-transfer amides.