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Sensitization of Europium(III) Luminescence by Benzophenone-Containing Ligands:  Regioisomers, Rearrangements and Chelate Ring Size, and Their Influence on Quantum Yields

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journal contribution
posted on 29.10.2007, 00:00 by Andrew J. Wilkinson, Davide Maffeo, Andrew Beeby, Clive E. Foster, J. A. Gareth Williams
A series of europium(III) complexes based on the macrocyclic azacarboxylate structure, DO3A, have been investigated, incorporating benzophenone appended at N10 of the macrocycle via linkers containing amide bonds (H3DO3A = 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7-tris-acetic acid). Complexes [EuL1-3] incorporate N10−CH2CONH−BP linkers (BP = benzophenone), which allow formation of a five-membered chelate ring containing the metal ion upon chelation of the amide oxygen; these three isomeric complexes differ from one another in the substitution position of the BP unit, namely para, meta, and ortho for L1, L2, and L3 respectively. The quantum yields of europium luminescence sensitized via the chromophore are found to be highly dependent upon the position of substitution, being 20 times smaller for the ortho compared to the para-substituted complex. A related para-substituted BP complex [EuL4], prepared by an unusual Michael reaction of the azamacrocycle with a BP-containing acrylamide, incorporates an additional methylene unit in the linker, namely N10−CH2CH2CONH−BP. Despite the longer linker, this complex equals the luminescence quantum yield achieved with [EuL1] (Φlum = 0.097 and 0.095, respectively, in H2O at 298 K). Analysis of the pertinent kinetics reveals that the decreased energy transfer efficiency in this complex, arising from the longer donor−acceptor distance, is compensated by an increased radiative rate constant. Under basic conditions, the ortho-substituted complex [EuL3] undergoes an intramolecular rearrangement to generate an unprecedented complex [EuL5] incorporating a 4-phenyl-2-hydroxyquinoline unit directly bound to the ring nitrogen. Although this complex is a poor emitter, an analogous complex obtained from 2-amino-acetophenone, which generates 4-methyl-2-hydroxyquinoline during the corresponding rearrangement, is an order of magnitude more emissive while still benefiting from relatively long-wavelength absorption. The emission from this complex is pH sensitive, being dramatically quenched under mildly basic conditions.