• Tuning the Decay Time of Lanthanide-Based Near Infrared Luminescence from Micro- to Milliseconds through d->f Energy Transfer in Discrete Heterobimetallic Complexes
    S. Torelli, D. Imbert, M. Cantuel, G. Bernardinelli, S. Delahaye, A. Hauser, J.-C.G. Bnzli and C. Piguet
    Chemistry - A European Journal, 11 (11) (2005), p3228-3242
    DOI:10.1002/chem.200401158 | unige:3273 | Abstract | Article HTML | Article PDF
Inert and optically active pseudo-octahedral CrIIIN6 and RuIIN6 chromophores have been incorporated by self-assembly into heterobimetallic triple-stranded helicates HHH-[CrLnL3]6+ and HHH-[RuLnL3]5+. The crystal structures of [CrLnL3](CF3SO3)6 (Ln=Nd, Eu, Yb, Lu) and [RuLnL3](CF3SO3)5 (Ln=Eu, Lu) demonstrate that the helical structure can accommodate metal ions of different sizes, without sizeable change in the intermetallic MLn distances. These systems are ideally suited for unravelling the molecular factors affecting the intermetallic nd→4f communication. Visible irradiation of the CrIIIN6 and RuIIN6 chromophores in HHH-[MLnL3]5/6+ (Ln=Nd, Yb, Er; M=Cr, Ru) eventually produces lanthanide-based near infrared (NIR) emission, after directional energy migration within the complexes. Depending on the kinetic regime associated with each specific d-f pair, the NIR luminescence decay times can be tuned from micro- to milliseconds. The origin of this effect, together with its rational control for programming optical functions in discrete heterobimetallic entities, are discussed.
Unsymmetrical substituted bidentate benzimidazol-2-ylpyridine ligands L2 and L3 react with [Ru(dmso)4Cl2] in ethanol to give statistical 1:3 mixtures of fac-[Ru(Li)3]2+ and mer-[Ru(Li)3]2+ (i=2, 3; ΔGΘisomerisation=-2.7 kJ mol-1). In more polar solvents (acetonitrile, methanol), the free energy of the facial ↔ meridional isomerisation process favours mer-[Ru(Li)3]2+, which is the only isomer observed in solution at the equilibrium (ΔGΘisomerisation≤-11.4 kJ mol-1). Since the latter process takes several days for [Ru(L2)3]2+, fac-[Ru(L2)3]2+ and mer-[Ru(L2)3]2+ have been separated by chromatography, but the 28-fold increase in velocity observed for [Ru(L3)3]2+ provides only mer-[Ru(L3)3](ClO4)2 after chromatography (RuC60H51N9O8Cl2, monoclinic, P21/n, Z=4). The facial isomer can be stabilised when an appended tridentate binding unit, connected at the 5-position of the benzimidazol-2-ylpyridine unit in ligand L1, interacts with nine-coordinate lanthanides(III). The free energy of the facial↔meridional isomerisation is reversed (ΔGΘisomerisation≥11.4 kJ mol-1), and the Ru — N bonds are labile enough to allow the quantitative thermodynamic self-assembly of HHH-[RuLu(L1)3]5+ within hours ([RuLu(L1)3](CF3SO3)4.5Cl0.5(CH3OH)2.5: RuLuC106H109Cl0.5N21O19S4.5F13.5, triclinic, P, Z=2). Electrochemical and photophysical studies show that the benzimidazol-2-ylpyridine units in L1-L3 display similar π-acceptor properties to, but stronger π-donor properties than, those found in 2,2'-bipyridine. This shifts the intraligand π→π* and the MLCT transitions toward lower energies in the pseudo-octahedral [Ru(Li)3]2+ (i=2, 3) chromophores. The concomitant short lifetime of the 3MLCT excited state points to efficient, thermally activated quenching via low-energy Ru-centred d-d states, a limitation which is partially overcome by mechanical coupling in HHH-[RuLu(L1)3]5+.

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