The role of substituted pyridine Schiff bases as ancillary ligands in the optical properties of a new series of: Fac -rhenium(i) tricarbonyl complexes: A theoretical view

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Abstract

Over the last few years, luminescent Re(i) tricarbonyl complexes have been increasingly proposed as fluorophores suitable for fluorescence microscopy to visualize biological structures and cells. In this sense, incorporating an asymmetrical pyridine Schiff base (PSB) as the ancillary ligand strongly modifies the staining and luminescent properties of Re(i) tricarbonyl complexes. In this work, we analyzed two series of Re(i) tricarbonyl complexes with their respective PSB ligands: (1) fac-[Re(CO)3(2,2′-bpy)(PSB)]1+ and (2) fac-[Re(CO)3(4,4′-bis(ethoxycarbonyl)-2,2′-bpy)(PSB)]1+, where the PSB exhibits substitutions at positions 4 or 6 in the phenolic ring with methyl or halogen substituents. Thus, we performed computational relativistic DFT and TDDFT studies to determine their optical properties. The ten complexes analyzed showed absorption in the visible light range. Furthermore, our analyses, including zero-field splitting (ZFS), allowed us to determine that the low-lying excited state locates below the 3LLCT states. Interestingly, seven of the ten analyzed complexes, whose corresponding PSB harbors an intramolecular hydrogen bond (IHB), exhibited luminescent emission that could be suitable for biological purposes: large Stokes shift, emission in the range 600-700 nm and τ in the order of 10-2 to 10-3 s. Conversely, the three complexes lacking the IHB due to two halogen substituents in the corresponding PSB showed a predicted emission with the lowest triplet excited state energy entering the NIR region. The main differences in the complexes' photophysical behavior have been explained by the energy gap law and time-resolved luminescence. These results emphasize the importance of choosing suitable substituents at the 4 and 6 positions in the phenolic ring of the PSB, which determine the presence of the IHB since they modulate the luminescence properties of the Re(i) core. Therefore, this study could predict Re(i) tricarbonyl complexes' properties, considering the desired emission features for biological and other applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37181-37193
Number of pages13
JournalRSC Advances
Volume11
Issue number59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering

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