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Effect of N-pyridyl substitution and hydrogen bonding on the deactivation of singlet excited 1,2-naphthalimide

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Photophysical properties of 1,2-naphthalimide (1) and N-(4-pyridyl)-1,2-naphthalimide (2) as well as the effect of their hydrogen bonding with phenols have been studied in toluene. Fluorescence emission is the dominant energy dissipation pathway of the singlet excited 1. Introduction of the 4-pyridyl substituent into the imide moiety significantly accelerates the internal conversion due to the efficient vibronic coupling between close-lying S1 and S2 excited states, however, the rate of triplet formation exhibits negligible change. In contrast with the behavior of the corresponding substituted phenyl derivatives, 2 does not emit dual fluorescence because of the less extensive conjugation within the molecule. Fluorescence quenching with phenols takes place both in dynamic and static processes. Electron transfer is slower in the hydrogen bonded complex where phenols are linked to the pyridyl moiety due to the larger distance between the electron donor and acceptor components.


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