How Boron Doping Shapes the Optoelectronic Properties of Canonical and Phenylene-Containing Oligoacenes: A Combined Experimental and Theoretical Investigation

Chemistry. 2017 Apr 11;23(21):5104-5116. doi: 10.1002/chem.201700056. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


Optimized syntheses of 6,13-dimesityl-6,13-dihydro-6,13-diborapentacene (DBP) and a related compound (DBI) featuring two biphenylene-2,3-diyl units in place of naphthalene-2,3-diyl moieties are reported. Striking differences between the optoelectronic properties of DBP and DBI have been experimentally observed, and explained by quantum chemical calculations. DBP is a member of the oligoacene family, DBI is a linear [N]phenylene derivative. The yellow DBP shows blue photoluminescence, the deep red DBI is nonfluorescent. Both compounds give rise to two reversible redox transitions at E1/2 =-2.03 V, -2.75 V (DBP) and -1.52 V, -2.30 V (DBI; THF, vs. FcH/FcH+ ). The higher electron affinity of DBI agrees with a lower calculated LUMO energy level [-0.57 eV for DBI with respect to DBP @HF//SCS-MP2/def2-TZVP] and a higher Lewis acidity of its boron centers, which is reflected in the trend of adduct formation with small Lewis bases (MeCN, F- ). The thermochemistry underlying this trend, as well as the mechanism of fluorescence quenching in DBI, are revealed by state-of-the-art quantum chemical calculations. It is suggested that the nonradiative deactivation occurs via a low-lying, doubly excited state.

Keywords: computational chemistry; density functional calculations; luminescence; organoboranes; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.