Excited-State Odd-Even Effect in Through-Space Interactions

J Am Chem Soc. 2023 Sep 27;145(38):21104-21113. doi: 10.1021/jacs.3c08164. Epub 2023 Sep 15.


The odd-even effect is a fantastic phenomenon in nature, which has been applied in diverse fields such as organic self-assembled monolayers and liquid crystals. Currently, the origin of each odd-even effect remains elusive, and all of the reported odd-even effects are related to the ground-state properties. Here, we discover an excited-state odd-even effect in the through-space interaction (TSI) of nonconjugated tetraphenylalkanes (TPAs). The TPAs with an even number of alkyl carbon atoms (C2-TPA, C4-TPA, and C6-TPA) show strong TSI, long-wavelength emission, and high QY. However, the odd ones (C1-TPA, C3-TPA, C5-TPA, and C7-TPA) are almost nonexistent with negligible QY. Systematically experimental and theoretical results reveal that the excited-state odd-even effect is synthetically determined by three factors: alkyl geometry, molecular movability, and intermolecular packing. Moreover, these flexible luminescent TPAs possess tremendous advantages in fluorescent information encryptions. This work extends the odd-even effect to photophysics, demonstrating its substantial importance and universality in nature.