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Excited-State Intramolecular Proton Transfer Molecules Bearing o-Hydroxy Analogues of Green Fluorescent Protein Chromophore

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posted on 21.10.2011 by Wei-Ti Chuang, Cheng-Chih Hsieh, Chin-Hung Lai, Cheng-Hsuan Lai, Chun-Wei Shih, Kew-Yu Chen, Wen-Yi Hung, Yu-Hsiang Hsu, Pi-Tai Chou
o-Hydroxy analogues, 1ag, of the green fluorescent protein chromophore have been synthesized. Their structures and electronic properties were investigated by X-ray single-crystal analyses, electrochemistry, and luminescence properties. In solid and nonpolar solvents 1ag exist mainly as Z conformers that possess a seven-membered-ring hydrogen bond and undergo excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) reactions, resulting in a proton-transfer tautomer emission. Fluorescence upconversion dynamics have revealed a coherent type of ESIPT, followed by a fast vibrational/solvent relaxation (<1 ps) to a twisted (regarding exo-C(5)–C(4)–C(3) bonds) conformation, from which a fast population decay of a few to several tens of picoseconds was resolved in cyclohexane. Accordingly, the proton-transfer tautomer emission intensity is moderate (0.08 in 1e) to weak (∼10–4 in 1a) in cyclohexane. The stronger intramolecular hydrogen bonding in 1g suppresses the rotation of the aryl–alkene bond, resulting in a high yield of tautomer emission (Φf ≈ 0.2). In the solid state, due to the inhibition of exo-C(5)–C(4)–C(3) rotation, intense tautomer emission with a quantum yield of 0.1–0.9 was obtained for 1ag. Depending on the electronic donor or acceptor strength of the substituent in either the HOMO or LUMO site, a broad tuning range of the emission from 560 (1g) to 670 nm (1a) has been achieved.

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