A. Brown,* T.Y. Ngai, M.A. Barnes, J.A. Key, and C.W. Cairo*
J. Phys. Chem. A 116 46-54.
Publication year: 2012

General chemical strategies which provide controlled changes in the emission or absorption properties of biologically compatible fluorophores remain elusive. One strategy employed is the conversion of a fluorophore-attached alkyne (or azide) to a triazole through a copper-catalyzed azide‚Äďalkyne coupling (CuAAC) reaction. In this study, we have computationally examined a series of structurally related 2,1,3-benzoxadiazole (benzofurazan) fluorophores and evaluated changes in their photophysical properties upon conversion from alkyne (or azide) to triazole forms. We have also determined the photophysical properties for a known set of benzoxadiazole compounds. The absorption and emission energies have been determined computationally using time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) with the Perdew, Burke, and Ernzerhof exchange-correlation density functional (PBE0) and the 6-31+G(d) basis set. The TD-DFT results consistently agreed with the experimentally determined absorption and emission wavelengths except for certain compounds where charge-transfer excited states occurred. In addition to determining the absorption and emission wavelengths, simple methods for predicting relative quantum yields previously derived from semiempirical calculations were reevaluated on the basis of the new TD-DFT results and shown to be deficient. These results provide a necessary framework for the design of new substituted benzoxadiazole fluorophores.

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