A solution- and solid-state investigation of medium effects on charge separation in metastable photomerocyanines

Dinesh G. Patel, Michelle M. Paquette, Roni A. Kopelman, Werner Kaminsky, Michael J. Ferguson, Natia L. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The effects of solution-state dielectric and intermolecular interactions on the degree of charge separation in metastable spirooxazine photomerocyanines (PMCs) is investigated. We report the first X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses of an open form, a metastable photomerocyanine, of the spirooxazine class of photochromic molecules in two derivatives: spiro[azahomoadamantane- isoquinolinoxazine] (1) and spiro[azahomoadamantane-phenanthrolinoxazine] (2). Using the results of XRD analysis of the open photomerocyanine forms, in conjunction with computation, solvatochromism, and solution NMR studies, we have investigated the effect of the medium on the ground-state structure of these photomerocyanines. Solvatochromism and NMR chemical shift studies of 1 and 2 support the assignment of a quinoidal structure in nonpolar solvents and a zwitterionic structure in high-polarity solvents. The effect of azahomoadamantyl substitution is explored by comparing 1 and 2 with the analogous indolyl derivatives, spiro[indoline-isoquinolinoxazine] (3) and spiro[indoline- phenanthrolinoxazine] (4) through XRD analysis of the closed spirooxazine (SO) forms, solution-state kinetic experiments, solvatochromism, and NMR studies. Longer Cspiro-O bond lengths in the SO form and slower rates of thermal PMC → SO isomerization for the azahomoadamantyl derivatives are associated with greater zwitterionic character in the PMC form, as found in the solvatochromism studies. XRD analysis of photomerocyanines 1 and 2 indicate a greater contribution from the canonical zwitterionic resonance form relative to the quinoidal form in the solid state. Structural differences observed in two pseudopolymorphs of 2-PMC suggest that the degree of charge-separated character is influenced by the crystal packing environment. These results provide direct structural evidence for the effects of the medium polarity on charge-separated states of photomerocyanines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12568-12586
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 15 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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