American Chemical Society
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Substituent-Controlled Photophysical Responses in Dihydropyridine Derivatives and Their Application in the Detection of Volatile Organic Contaminants

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-20, 18:37 authored by S. Shurooque Kanneth, Diana Mathew, Pattiyil Parameswaran, Anjali K. Sajeev, K. N. Narayanan Unni, Lakshmi Chakkumkumarath
In the ever-expanding realm of organic fluorophores, structurally simple and synthetically straightforward molecules with unique photophysical properties have received special attention. Among these, 1,4-dihydropyridine (DHP) is an important scaffold that permits fine-tuning of their photophysical properties through substituents on the periphery. Herein, we describe a series of solid-emissive N-substituted 2,6-dimethyl-4-methylene-1,4-dihydropyridine derivatives appended with electron-withdrawing substituents (dicyanomethylene or 2-dicyanomethylene-3-cyano-2,5-dihydrofuran) at the C-4 position and alkyl or alkylaryl groups on the DHP nitrogen. Electronic and steric tuning exerted by these substituents resulted in interesting photophysical properties such as negative solvatochromism, solidstate, and aggregation-induced emission (AIE). Theoretical calculations were carried out to explain the solvatochromic properties. Insight into the AIE properties was obtained through variable-temperature nuclear magnetic resonance and viscosity- and temperature-dependent emission studies. The variations in molecular packing in the crystal lattice with changes in the N-substituents contributed to the tuning of solid state emission properties. Detection of aromatic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was achieved using the aggregates of the DHP derivatives. Among the VOCs, p-xylene elicited a significant enhancement in emission, allowing its detection at submicromolar levels.