• CrIII as an alternative to RuII in metallo-supramolecular chemistry
    D. Zare, B. Doistau, H. Nozary, C. Besnard, L. Gune, Y. Suffren, A.-L. Pel, A. Hauser and C. Piguet
    Dalton Transactions, 46 (2017), p8992-9009
    DOI:10.1039/c7dt01747b | unige:95682 | Article HTML | Article PDF | Supporting Info
 
Compared with divalent ruthenium coordination complexes, which are widely exploited as parts of multi-component photonic devices, optically active trivalent chromium complexes are under-represented in multi-metallic supramolecular architectures performing energy conversion because of the tricky preparation of stable heteroleptic CrIII building blocks. We herein propose a kind of remedy with the synthesis of a novel family of kinetically inert hetereloptic bis-terdentate mononuclear complexes, which can be incorporated into dinuclear rod-like diads as a proof-of-concept. The mechanism and magnitude of intermetallic Cr···Cr communications have been unraveled by a combination of magnetic, photophysical and thermodynamic investigations. Alternated aromatic/alkyne connectors provided by Sonogashira coupling reactions emerge as the most efficient wires for long-distance communication between two chromium centres bridged by Janus-type back-to-back bis-terdentate receptors.
  
Considered at the beginning of the 21th century as being incompatible with the presence of closely bound high-energy oscillators, lanthanide-centered superexcitation, which is the raising of an already excited electron to an even higher level by excited-state energy absorption, is therefore a very active topic strictly limited to the statistical doping of low-phonon bulk solids and nanoparticles. We show here that molecular lanthanide-containing coordination complexes may be judiciously tuned to overcome these limitations and to induce near-infrared (NIR)-to-visible (VIS)-light upconversion via the successive absorption of two low-energy photons using linear-optical responses. Whereas single-ion-centered excited-state absorption mechanisms remain difficult to implement in lanthanide complexes, the skillful design of intramolecular intermetallic energy-transfer processes operating in multimetallic architectures is at the origin of the recent programming of erbium-centered molecular upconversion.
 
The Hoffman-type coordination compound [Fe(pz)Pt(CN)4]⋅2.6 H2O (pz=pyrazine) shows a cooperative thermal spin transition at around 270 K. Synchrotron powder X-Ray diffraction studies reveal that a quantitative photoinduced conversion from the low-spin (LS) state into the high-spin (HS) state, based on the light-induced excited spin-state trapping effect, can be achieved at 10 K in a microcrystalline powder. Time-resolved measurements evidence that the HS→LS relaxation proceeds by a two-step mechanism: a random HS→LS conversion at the beginning of the relaxation is followed by a nucleation and growth process, which proceeds until a quantitative HS→LS transformation has been reached.
  
  • Smaller than a nanoparticle with the design of discrete polynuclear molecular complexes displaying near-infrared to visible upconversion
    D. Zare, Y. Suffren, L. Gune, S.V. Eliseeva, H. Nozary, L. Aboshyan-Sorgho, S. Petoud, A. Hauser and C. Piguet
    Dalton Transactions, 44 (6) (2015), p2529-2540
    DOI:10.1039/C4DT02336F | unige:46187 | Abstract | Article HTML | Article PDF | Supporting Info
This work shows that the operation of near-infrared to visible light-upconversion in a discrete molecule is not limited to non-linear optical processes, but may result from superexcitation processes using linear optics. The design of nine-coordinate metallic sites made up of neutral N-heterocyclic donor atoms in kinetically inert dinuclear [GaEr(L1)3]6+ and trinuclear [GaErGa(L2)3]9+ helicates leads to [ErN9] chromophores displaying unprecedented dual visible nanosecond Er(4S3/24I15/2) and near-infrared microsecond Er(4I13/24I15/2) emissive components. Attempts to induce one ion excited-state absorption (ESA) upconversion upon near-infrared excitation of these complexes failed because of the too-faint Er-centred absorption cross sections. The replacement of the trivalent gallium cation with a photophysically-tailored pseudo-octahedral [CrN6] chromophore working as a sensitizer for trivalent erbium in [CrEr(L1)3]6+ improves the near-infrared excitation efficiency, leading to the observation of a weak energy transfer upconversion (ETU). The connection of a second sensitizer in [CrErCr(L2)3]9+ generates a novel mechanism for upconversion, in which the superexcitation process is based on the CrIII-sensitizers. Two successive Cr→Er energy transfer processes (concerted-ETU) compete with a standard Er-centred ETU, and a gain in upconverted luminescence by a factor larger than statistical values is predicted and observed.
  • Light-induced spin-state switching in the mixed crystal series of the 2D coordination network {[Zn1-xFex(bbtr)3](BF4)2}: optical spectroscopy and cooperative effects
    P. Chakraborty, C. Enachescu, A. Humair, L. Egger, T. Delgado, A. Tissot, L. Gune, C. Besnard, R. Bronisz and A. Hauser
    Dalton Transactions, 43 (47) (2014), p17786-17796
    DOI:10.1039/C4DT01728E | unige:42340 | Abstract | Article HTML | Article PDF
 
Depending on the iron(II) concentration, the mixed crystals of {[Zn1-xFex(bbtr)3](BF4)2}∞, bbtr = 1,4-di(1,2,3-triazol-1-yl)butane, 0.01 ≤ x ≤ 1, show macroscopic light-induced bistability between the high-spin and the low-spin state. In the highly diluted system with x = 0.01 and up to x = 0.31, the photoinduced low-spin state always relaxes back to the high-spin state independent of the initial light-induced low-spin fraction. In the highly concentrated mixed crystals with x = 0.67, 0.87 and 1, the strong cooperative effects coupled to a crystallographic phase transition result in light-induced bistability with decreasing critical light-induced low-spin fraction and increasing hysteresis width for increasing iron(II) concentrations. The lower limit for the light-induced bistability is estimated at x ≈ 0.5.
  
  • Near-Infrared to Visible Light-Upconversion in Molecules: From Dream to Reality
    Y. Suffren, D. Zare, S.V. Eliseeva, L. Gune, H. Nozary, T. Lathion, L. Aboshyan-Sorgho, S. Petoud, A. Hauser and C. Piguet
    Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117 (51) (2013), p26957-26963
    DOI:10.1021/jp4107519 | unige:34037 | Abstract | Article HTML | Article PDF
Light-upconversion via stepwise energy transfer from a sensitizer to an activator exploits linear optics for converting low-energy infrared or near-infrared incident photons to higher energy emission occurring in the part of the electromagnetic spectrum ranging from visible to ultraviolet. Stepwise excitation is restricted to activators possessing intermediate long-lived excited states such as those found for trivalent lanthanide cations dispersed in solid-state matrices. When the activator is embedded in a molecular complex, efficient non-radiative relaxation processes usually reduce excited state lifetimes to such an extent that upconversion becomes too inefficient to be detected under practical excitation intensities. Theoretical considerations suggest that the combination of millisecond timescale sensitizers with a central lanthanide activator located in supramolecular complexes circumvents this bottleneck by creating a novel pathway reminiscent of the energy transfer upconversion mechanism observed in doped solids. Application of this novel concept to chromium/erbium pairs in discrete triple-stranded helicates demonstrates that strong-field trivalent chromium chromophores irradiated with near-infrared photons produce upconverted green erbium-centered emission both in the solid state and in solution.
  • Experimental Evidence of Ultrafast Quenching of the 3MLCT Luminescence in Ruthenium(II) Tris-bipyridyl Complexes via a 3dd State
    Q. Sun, S. Mosquera-Vazquez, L.M. Lawson Daku, L. Gune, H.A. Goodwin, E. Vauthey and A. Hauser
    Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135 (37) (2013), p13660-13663
    DOI:10.1021/ja407225t | unige:29641 | Abstract | Article HTML | Article PDF
 
Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy serves to identify the 3dd state as intermediate quencher state of the 3MLCT luminescence in the non-luminescent ruthenium complexes [Ru(m-bpy)3]2+ (m-bpy = 6-methyl-2,2′-bipyridine) and [Ru(tm-bpy)3]2+ (tm-bpy = 4,4′,6,6′-tetramethyl-2′,2′-bipyridine). For [Ru(m-bpy)3]2+, the population of the 3dd state from the 3MLCT state occurs within 1.6 ps, while the return to the ground state takes 450 ps. For [Ru(tm-bpy)3]2+, the corresponding values are 0.16 and 7.5 ps, respectively. According to DFT calculations, methyl groups added in the 6 and 6′ positions of bipyridine stabilize the 3dd state by ∼4000 cm–1 each, compared to [Ru(bpy)3]2+.
  • Determination of the molecular structure of the short-lived light-induced high-spin state in the spin-crossover compound [Fe(6-mepy)3tren](PF6)2
    P. Chakraborty, A. Tissot, L. Peterhans, L. Gune, C. Besnard, P. Pattison and A. Hauser
    Physical Review B, 87 (21) (2013), p214306
    DOI:10.1103/PhysRevB.87.214306 | unige:28964 | Abstract | Article PDF
In the spin-crossover compound [Fe(6-mepy)3tren](PF6)2, (6-mepy)3tren = tris{4-[(6-methyl)-2-pyridyl]-3-aza-butenyl}amine, the high-spin state can be populated as metastable state below the thermal transition temperature via irradiation into the metal to ligand charge transfer absorption band of the low-spin species. At 10 K, the lifetime of this metastable state is only 1 s. Despite this, it is possible to determine an accurate excited state structure by following the evolution of relevant structural parameters by synchrotron X-ray diffraction under continuous irradiation with increasing intensity. The difference in metal-ligand bond length between the high-spin and the low-spin state is found to be 0.192 Å obtained from an analysis of the experimental data using the mean-field approximation to model cooperative effects.
  
In the covalently linked 2D coordination network {[Fe(bbtr)3](BF4)2}, bbtr = 1,4-di(1,2,3-triazol-1-yl)butane, the iron(II) centers stay in the high-spin (HS) state down to 10 K. They can, however, be quantitatively converted to the low-spin (LS) state by irradiating into the near-IR spin allowed 5dd band and back again by irradiating into the visible 1dd band. The compound shows true light-induced bistability below 100 K, thus, having the potential for persistent bidirectional optical switching at elevated temperatures.
 
The structure and thermodynamic properties of lanthanide complexes with a new tripodal ligand L2 have been elucidated using different physicochemical methods. At stoichiometric ratios, the tetrahedral three-dimensional complexes with lanthanide cations are formed in acetonitrile with good stabilities. Despite minor structural changes comparing to previously investigated tripodal ligands, the resulting assembly exhibits different features revealed with the crystal structure of [Eu4L24](OH)(ClO4)11 (orthorhombic, Pbcn). Interestingly, the highly charged edifice contains an inner cage encapsulating a perchlorate anion. Such lanthanide mediated cage-like assemblies are rare, and may be of interest for different sensing applications. Indeed, the anionic guest can be exchanged with different anions. The related host–guest equilibria were investigated with NMR techniques. Various aspects of these reactions are qualitatively discussed.

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