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Synthesis and Photophysical Properties of 2-Donor-7-acceptor-9-silafluorenes: Remarkable Fluorescence Solvatochromism and Highly Efficient Fluorescence in Doped Polymer Films

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journal contribution
posted on 03.06.2010, 00:00 by Masaki Shimizu, Kenji Mochida, Masaki Katoh, Tamejiro Hiyama
Recently, π-conjugated molecules containing a 9-silafluorene moiety have attracted considerable attention owing to their potential applications in organic electronics. While most studies focus on the oligomers and (co)polymers of 9-silafluorenes, functionalized 9-silafluorenes themselves remain unexplored. In this paper, we describe the preparation, photophysical properties, and theoretical calculations of 2-amino-7-acceptor-9-silafluorenes and we show that these silafluorenes can potentially be used as novel chromophores for functional organic materials. The D-π-A type silafluorenes were prepared by Pd-catalyzed intramolecular coupling of 2-(3-aminophenyldiisopropylsilyl)aryl triflates and the subsequent functional group conversion through reduction of the cyano group to a formyl and Knoevenagel condensation of the formyl group with malonitrile. The UV−visible absorption and fluorescence spectra of the D-π-A type silafluorenes exhibited a red-shift when the electron-withdrawing nature of the acceptor increased. The emission maxima of the fluorescence were highly dependent on the solvent. In the cases of formyl- and dicyanoethenyl-substituted silafluorenes, the emission colors ranged from blue to yellow for the formyl derivatives and from green to red for the dicyanoethenyl derivatives. The noticeable fluorescence solvatochromism suggests the intramolecular charge-transfer character of the excited states. The silafluorenes also exhibited fluorescence in the solid state (e.g., a neat thin film and a doped polymer film), and the emission color was dependent on the polarity of the polymer. In the solid state, the quantum yields of diphenylamino derivatives were generally higher than those of dimethylamino derivatives, presumably because the bulky diphenylamino group prevented chromophores from assembling close to each other. A comparison of the photophysical properties and theoretical calculations of D-π-A type silafluorenes with those of the corresponding fluorenes revealed that the silicon bridge contributed to the extension of the effective conjugation length of the biphenyl moiety when the acceptor was either hydrogen, trifluoromethyl, or a cyano group, whereas there was no contribution of the silicon bridge to the π-extension in silafluorenes substituted by strong electron acceptors such as formyl and dicyanoethenyl groups. White photoluminescence was demonstrated with an excellent quantum yield of 0.81 in the solid state from the poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) film doped with Ph2N/CHO- and Ph2N/CH(CN)2-substituted silafluorenes. This work reveals the potential of D-π-A type silafluorenes as versatile organic emitting materials.