The use of polyaromatic hydrocarbons to capture and release singlet oxygen is of considerable importance in materials chemistry, synthesis, and photodynamic therapy. Here we studied the ability of a series of tethered twistacenes, possessing different degrees of backbone twist, to capture and release singlet oxygen via the reversible Diels-Alder reaction. When the twistacene acts as both a sensitizer and a diene, the photo-oxidation rate depends on the extinction coefficient of the irradiation wavelength. However, when the twistacenes function solely as a diene, the rate of photo-oxidation increases with increasing twist. The rate of the reverse reaction, the singlet oxygen release, also increases with increasing twist. The calculated transition state energy decreases with increasing twist, which can explain the observed trend. The presence of the tether significantly increases the reversibility of the reaction, which can proceed in repeated forward and reverse cycles in very high yield under mild conditions, as required for molecular switches.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry