Phenyl ring dynamics in a tetraphenylethylene-bridged metal-organic framework: Implications for the mechanism of aggregation-induced emission

Natalia B. Shustova, Ta Chung Ong, Anthony F. Cozzolino, Vladimir K. Michaelis, Robert G. Griffin, Mircea Dincǎ

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

257 Scopus citations

Abstract

Molecules that exhibit emission in the solid state, especially those known as aggregation-induced emission (AIE) chromophores, have found applications in areas as varied as light-emitting diodes and biological sensors. Despite numerous studies, the mechanism of fluorescence quenching in AIE chromophores is still not completely understood. To this end, much interest has focused on understanding the low-frequency vibrational dynamics of prototypical systems, such as tetraphenylethylene (TPE), in the hope that such studies would provide more general principles toward the design of new sensors and electronic materials. We hereby show that a perdeuterated TPE-based metal-organic framework (MOF) serves as an excellent platform for studying the low-energy vibrational modes of AIE-type chromophores. In particular, we use solid-state 2H and 13C NMR experiments to investigate the phenyl ring dynamics of TPE cores that are coordinatively trapped inside a MOF and find a phenyl ring flipping energy barrier of 43(6) kJ/mol. DFT calculations are then used to deconvolute the electronic and steric contributions to this flipping barrier. Finally, we couple the NMR and DFT studies with variable-temperature X-ray diffraction experiments to propose that both the ethylenic C' - 'C bond twist and the torsion of the phenyl rings are important for quenching emission in TPE, but that the former may gate the latter. To conclude, we use these findings to propose a set of design criteria for the development of tunable turn-on porous sensors constructed from AIE-type molecules, particularly as applied to the design of new multifunctional MOFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15061-15070
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume134
Issue number36
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 12 2012

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