Journal of the American Chemical Society

Modulation of metallophilic bonds: solvent-induced isomerization and luminescence vapochromism of a polymorphic Au-Cu cluster.

PMID 22469012


We report a homoleptic Au-Cu alkynyl cluster that represents an unexplored class of luminescent materials with stimuli-responsive photophysical properties. The bimetallic complex formulated as [Au(2)Cu(2)(C(2)OHC(5)H(8))(4)](n) efficiently self-assembles from Au(SC(4)H(8))Cl, Cu(NCMe)(4)PF(6), and 1-ethynylcyclopentanol in the presence of NEt(3). This compound shows remarkably diverse polymorphism arising from the modulation of metallophilic interactions by organic solvents. Four crystalline forms, obtained from methanol (1a); ethanol, acetone, or choloroform (1b); toluene (1c); and diethyl ether or ethyl acetate (1d), demonstrate different photoluminescent characteristics. The solid-state quantum yields of phosphorescence (Φ) vary from 0.1% (1a) to 25% (1d), depending on the character of intermetallic bonding. The structures of 1b-d were determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The ethanol (1b, Φ = 2%) and toluene (1c, Φ = 10%) solvates of [Au(2)Cu(2)(C(2)OHC(5)H(8))(4)](n) adopt octanuclear isomeric structures (n = 2), while 1d (Φ = 25%) is a solvent-free chain polymer built from two types of Au(4)Cu(4) units. Electronic structure calculations show that the dramatic enhancement of the emission intensity is correlated with the increasing role of metal-metal bonding. The latter makes the emission progressively more metal-centered in the order 1b < 1c < 1d. The metallophilic contacts in 1a-d show high sensitivity to the vapors of certain solvents, which effectively induce unusual solid-state isomerization and switching of the absorption and luminescence properties via non-covalent interactions. The reported polymorphic material is the first example of a gold(I) alkynyl compound demonstrating vapochromic behavior.

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1-Ethynylcyclopentanol, 98%