Double [2+2] cycloaddition/retro-electrocyclisation reactions between tetracyanoethene (TCNE) and various anilino-capped buta-1,3-diynes furnished a series of octacyanodendralene deri vatives featuring intense, low-energy intramolecular charge-transfer absorptions. These novel chromophores are strong electron acceptors and undergo facile one-electron reductions at potentials (-0.09 to -0.17 Ev vs. Fc+/Fc, in CH2Cl2-0.1 M nBu4NPF6) lower than those reported for the benchmark organic acceptors, such as TCNE (-0.32 eV) and 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ) (-0.25 eV). The electron-accepting power of one octacyanodendralene, as expressed by the computed adiabatic electron affinity (EA), compares to that of the reference acceptor 2,3,5,6-tetrafluoro-7,7,8,8- tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4-TCNQ) used as a p-type dopant in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and solar cells. Gas-phase density functional theory (DFT) calculations predict a stretchedout conformation as the global energy minimum for octacyanodendralenes. In the solid state however, folded conformations were observed for two structures by X-ray analysis. Taking the solid state environment approximately into account calculations predict a energetical degeneracy between the stretched-out and folded conformation. Therefore conformational preference probably is a result of supramolecular dimer formation, mediated by two pairs of intermolecular, antiparallel dipolar CN/CN interactions.
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