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Tuning the Optical and Electronic Properties of 4,8-Disubstituted Benzobisoxazoles via Alkyne Substitution

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posted on 04.11.2011, 00:00 by Brian C. Tlach, Aimée L. Tomlinson, Achala Bhuwalka, Malika Jeffries-EL
In an effort to design new electron-deficient building blocks for the synthesis of conjugated materials, a series of new trans-benzobisoxazoles bearing halogen or alkynyl substituents at the 4,8-positions was synthesized. Additionally, the impact of these modifications on the optical and electronic properties was investigated. Theoretical calculations predicted that the incorporation of various alkynes can be used to tune the energy levels and band gaps of these small molecules. The targeted 4,8-disubstituted benzobisoxazoles were easily prepared in good yields using a two-step reaction sequence: Lewis acid catalyzed orthoester cyclization followed by Sonogashira cross-coupling. The experimentally determined HOMO values for these 4,8-disubstituted benzobisoxazoles ranged from −4.97 to −6.20 eV and showed reasonable correlation to the theoretically predicted values, with a percent deviation that ranged from 2.4–12.8%. However, the deviation between actual and predicted HOMO values was reduced to less than 3.5% when the theoretical values were extrapolated to the long-chain limit and compared to copolymers containing the 4,8-disubstituted benzobisoxazoles. Collectively, these results indicate that these 4,8-disubstituted trans-benzobisoxazoles can be used for the synthesis of new conjugated materials with electronic properties that are variable and predictable.