Donor–Acceptor Fluorophores for Energy-Transfer-Mediated Photocatalysis

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American Chemical Society

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Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Triplet–triplet energy transfer (EnT) is a fundamental activation pathway in photocatalysis. In this work, we report the mechanistic origins of the triplet excited state of carbazole-cyanobenzene donor–acceptor (D–A) fluorophores in EnT-based photocatalytic reactions and demonstrate the key factors that control the accessibility of the 3LE (locally excited triplet state) and 3CT (charge-transfer triplet state) via a combined photochemical and transient absorption spectroscopic study. We found that the energy order between 1CT (charge transfer singlet state) and 3LE dictates the accessibility of 3LE/3CT for EnT, which can be effectively engineered by varying solvent polarity and D–A character to depopulate 3LE and facilitate EnT from the chemically more tunable 3CT state for photosensitization. Following the above design principle, a new D–A fluorophore with strong D–A character and weak redox potential is identified, which exhibits high efficiency for Ni(II)-catalyzed cross-coupling of carboxylic acids and aryl halides with a wide substrate scope and high selectivity. Our results not only provide key fundamental insight on the EnT mechanism of D–A fluorophores but also establish its wide utility in EnT-mediated photocatalytic reactions.


Accepted version. Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 140, No. 42 (October 2, 2018): 13719-13725. DOI. © 2018 American Chemical Society. Used with permission.

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