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Fluoride-Triggered Ring-Opening of Photochromic Diarylpyrans into Merocyanine Dyes: Naked-Eye Sensing in Subppm Levels

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posted on 22.07.2016 by Arindam Mukhopadhyay, Vijay Kumar Maka, Jarugu Narasimha Moorthy
The fluoride-mediated desilylation reaction has been exploited, for the first time, to trigger ring-opening of photochromic diarylbenzo-/naphthopyrans into highly colored anionic merocyanine dyes with high molar absorptivities to permit naked-eye sensing. The absorption spectral shifts, i.e., differences in the absorption maxima of colorless and colored forms, observed for a rationally designed set of silyloxy-substituted diarylpyrans subsequent to fluoride-induced ring opening are remarkably high (330–480 nm), and are unknown for any colorimetric probe. In particular, the disilyloxy-substituted diphenylnaphthopyran and its analog, in which the diphenyl groups are fused in the form of fluorene, allows “naked-eye” detection of fluoride in subppm levels (<1.0 ppm) in THF as well as in DMSO-H2O. The sensing is specific for fluoride among various other anions. This approach for colorimetric sensing of fluoride by ring-opening of the otherwise photochromic benzo-/naphthopyrans is heretofore unprecedented.