BORAZANs: Tunable Fluorophores Based on 2-(Pyrazolyl)aniline Chelates of Diphenylboron
American Chemical Society
The Journal of Organic Chemistry
The reaction between 2-pyrazolyl-4-X-anilines, H(pzAnX), (X = para-OMe (L1), Me (L2), H (L3), Cl (L4), CO2Et (L5), CF3 (L6), CN (L7)) and triphenylboron in boiling toluene affords the respective, highly emissive N,N‘-boron chelate complexes, BPh2(pzAnX) (X = para-OMe (1), Me (2), H (3), Cl (4), CO2Et (5), CF3 (6), CN (7)) in high yield. The structural, electrochemical, and photophysical properties of the new boron complexes can be fine-tuned by varying the electron-withdrawing or -donating power of the para-aniline substituent (delineated by the substituent's Hammett parameter). Those complexes with electron-withdrawing para-aniline substituents such as CO2Et (5), CF3 (6), and CN (7) have more planar chelate rings, more ‘quinoidal' disortion in the aniline rings, greater chemical stability, higher oxidation potentials, and more intense (φF = 0.81 for 7 in toluene), higher-energy (blue) fluorescent emission compared to those with electron-donating substituents. Thus, for 1 the oxidation potential is 0.53 V versus Ag/AgCl (compared to 1.12 V for 7), and the emission is tuned to the yellow-green but at an expense in terms of lower quantum yields (φF = 0.07 for 1 in toluene) and increased chemical reactivity. Density functional calculations (B3LYP/6-31G*) on PM3 energy-minimized structures of the ligands and boron complexes reproduced experimentally observed data and trends and provided further insight into the nature of the electronic transitions.