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Donor–Acceptor-Appended Triarylboron Lewis Acids: Ratiometric or Time-Resolved Turn-On Fluorescence Response toward Fluoride Binding

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journal contribution
posted on 09.01.2020, 20:15 by Heechai Lee, Saibal Jana, Juhee Kim, Sang Uck Lee, Min Hyung Lee
Triarylboron Lewis acid compounds (CzmBoT (1c) and DPAmBoT (2c)), in which carbazole (Cz) or diphenylamine (DPA) donors are linked with a triazine acceptor in the ortho position of the phenylene ring are prepared and characterized. The treatment of 1c and 2c with the fluoride anion produces the corresponding fluoride adducts [1cF] and [2cF] as a tetraethylammonium salt. An X-ray diffraction study of [1cF] reveals a twisted conformation between the Cz and phenylene rings. The Cz-containing 1c shows a ratiometric fluorescence change upon fluoride binding, while the DPA-containing 2c exhibits a turn-on fluorescence response in tetrahydrofuran. In particular, both fluoride adducts exhibit thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) properties with microsecond-range lifetimes. Electrochemical and theoretical analysis suggests that the intramolecular charge-transfer transition from the donor to a conjugated acceptor fragment is switched to the donor to a triazine transition after fluoride binding. Theoretical analysis further demonstrates the twisted structure, effective highest occupied molecular orbital–lowest unoccupied molecular orbital separation, and the small energy splitting between the excited singlet and triplet states for the fluoride adducts, with all supporting the observed TADF. The time-resolved fluorescence measurements of 2c in the presence of both fluoride and a competitive fluorescent dye (Coumarin 6) effectively eliminate the short-lived fluorescence of a dye, retaining long-lived fluorescence signals originating only from [2cF].