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How Do Amides Affect the Electronic Properties of Pyrene?

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journal contribution
posted on 09.10.2018, 13:03 by Eli M. Espinoza, John A. Clark, James B. Derr, Duoduo Bao, Boriana Georgieva, Frank H. Quina, Valentine I. Vullev
The electronic properties of amide linkers, which are intricate components of biomolecules, offer a wealth of unexplored possibilities. Herein, we demonstrate how the different modes of attaching an amide to a pyrene chromophore affect the electrochemical and optical properties of the chromophore. Thus, although they cause minimal spectral shifts, amide substituents can improve either the electron-accepting or electron-donating capabilities of pyrene. Specifically, inversion of the amide orientation shifts the reduction potentials by 200 mV. These trends indicate that, although amides affect to a similar extent the energies of the ground and singlet excited states of pyrene, the effects on the doublet states of its radical ions are distinctly different. This behavior reflects the unusually strong orientation dependence of the resonance effects of amide substituents, which should extend to amide substituents on other types of chromophores in general. These results represent an example where the Hammett sigma constants fail to predict substituent effects on electrochemical properties. On the other hand, Swain–Lupton parameters are found to be in good agreement with the observed trends. Examination of the frontier orbitals of the pyrene derivatives and their components reveals the underlying reason for the observed amide effects on the electronic properties of this polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and points to key molecular-design strategies for electronic and energy-conversion systems.