Two new fluorescent macrocyclic structures bearing two naphthalene (Np) units at both ends of a cyclic polyaminic chain were investigated with potentiometric, fluorescence (steady-state and time-resolved) and laser flash photolysis techniques. The fluorescence emission studies show the presence of an excimer species whose formation depends on the protonation state of the polyamine chains implying the existence of a bending movement (occurring in both the ground and in the first singlet excited state), which allows the two naphthalene units to approach and interact. For comparison purposes, one bis-chromophoric compound containing a rigid chain (piperazine unit) was also investigated. Its emission spectra shows a unique band decaying single exponentially thus showing that no excimer is formed. With the two new ligands, excimer formation occurs in all situations even at very acidic pH values when the protonation of the polyamine bridges is extensive. Coexistence of ground-state dimers with dynamic excimers was established based on steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence data. The energetics of excimer formation and dissociation were determined in ethanol and water. Different methods of decay analysis (independent decay deconvolution, global analysis and excimer deconvolution with monomer) were used to extract the kinetic (rate constants for excimer formation, dissociation, and decay) and thermodynamic parameters. In ethanol and acidified ethanol:water mixtures, an additional short decay time was found to exist and assigned to a dimer, whose presence is assumed to be responsible by the decrease in activation energy for excimer formation in this solvent. The results are globally discussed in terms of the small architectural differences that can induce significant changes in the photophysical behavior of the three studied compounds.
- Pyrene excimer