Arylethynyl Substituted 9,10-Anthraquinones: Tunable Stokes Shifts by Substitution and Solvent Polarity


2-Arylethynyl- and 2,6- and 2,7-diarylethynyl-substituted 9,10-anthraquinones were synthesized via Sonogashira coupling reactions of 2-bromo-, 2,6-dibromo-, and 2,7-dibromo-9,10-anthraquinone with para-substituted phenylacetylenes. While the redox properties of those compounds are almost insensitive to substitution, their absorption maxima are linearly related to the Hammett constants with different slopes for electron donors and electron acceptors. All compounds are photoluminescent both in solution (quantum yields of emission 6%), and as solids. The emission spectra have the characteristics of charge-transfer bands with large Stokes shifts (100-250 nm). The charge-transfer character of the emitting state is supported by large dipole moment differences between the ground and the excited state as concluded on the basis of molecular modeling and Lippert-Mataga correlations of the Stokes shifts with solvent polarity. Maximum Stokes shifts are attained by both electron-donating and -withdrawing groups. This is explained by a destabilization of the HOMO by electron donors and a stabilization of the LUMO by electron acceptors. X-ray crystallographic analysis of, for example, 2,7-bisphenylethynyl-9,10-anthraquinone reveals a monoclinic P21/n space group and no indication for -overlap that would promote quenching, thus explaining emission from the solid state. Representative reduced forms of the title compounds were isolated as stable acetates of the corresponding dihydro-9,10-anthraquinones. The emission of these compounds is blue-shifted relative to the parent oxidized forms and is attributed to internal transitions in the dihydro-9,10-anthraquinone core.




NASA Glenn Research Center Director's Discretionary Fund (DDF)

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2004 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2004