We report here, for the first time, the experimental observation on the excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) reaction of the thiol proton in room-temperature solution. This phenomenon is demonstrated by a derivative of 3-thiolflavone (3TF), namely, 2-(4-(diethylamino)phenyl)-3-mercapto-4H-chromen-4-one (3NTF), which possesses an - S - H···O= intramolecular H-bond (denoted by the dashed line) and has an S1 absorption at 383 nm. Upon photoexcitation, 3NTF exhibits a distinctly red emission maximized at 710 nm in cyclohexane with an anomalously large Stokes shift of 12 230 cm-1. Upon methylation on the thiol group, 3MeNTF, lacking the thiol proton, exhibits a normal Stokes-shifted emission at 472 nm. These, in combination with the computational approaches, lead to the conclusion of thiol-type ESIPT unambiguously. Further time-resolved study renders an unresolvable (<180 fs) ESIPT rate for 3NTF, followed by a tautomer emission lifetime of 120 ps. In sharp contrast to 3NTF, both 3TF and 3-mercapto-2-(4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-4H-chromen-4-one (3FTF) are non-emissive. Detailed computational approaches indicate that all studied thiols undergo thermally favorable ESIPT. However, once forming the proton-transferred tautomer, the lone-pair electrons on the sulfur atom brings non-negligible nπ∗ contribution to the S1′ state (prime indicates the proton-transferred tautomer), for which the relaxation is dominated by the non-radiative deactivation. For 3NTF, the extension of π-electron delocalization by the diethylamino electron-donating group endows the S1′ state primarily in the ππ∗ configuration, exhibiting the prominent tautomer emission. The results open a new chapter in the field of ESIPT, covering the non-canonical sulfur intramolecular H-bond and its associated ESIPT at ambient temperature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 化學 (全部)