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Molecules 2012, 17(3), 3259-3276; doi:10.3390/molecules17033259
Article

Spectral Properties of Substituted Coumarins in Solution and Polymer Matrices

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Received: 23 January 2012 / Revised: 7 March 2012 / Accepted: 8 March 2012 / Published: 14 March 2012
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Abstract

The absorption and fluorescence spectra of substituted coumarins (2-oxo-2H-chromenes) were investigated in solvents and in polymer matrices. The substitutions involved were: (1) by groups with varying electron donating ability such as CH3, OCH3 and N(CH3)2, mainly, but not exclusively, in positions 7 and (2), by either CHO or 4-PhNHCONHN=CH- in position 3. While the spectra of non-substituted coumarin-3-carbaldehyde has absorptions at approximately 305 and 350 nm, substitution at position 7 leads to remarkable changes in the shape of the absorption spectrum and shifts the absorption to a longer wavelength. Similarly, the replacement of the formyl group with a semicarbazide group substantially influences the shape of the absorption spectrum, and coumarins which have only N(CH3)2 in position 7 experience small changes. These changes are associated with the increasing intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) character and increasing conjugation length of the chromophoric system, respectively, in the studied molecules. The fluorescence is almost negligible for derivatives which have H in this position. With increasing electron donating ability, and the possibility of a positive mesomeric (+M) effect of the substituent in position 7 of the coumarin moiety, the fluorescence increases, and this increase is most intense when N(CH3)2 substitutes in this position, for both 3-substituted derivatives. Spectral measurements of the studied coumarins in polymer matrices revealed that the absorption and fluorescence maxima lay within the maxima for solvents, and that coumarins yield more intense fluorescence in polymer matrices than when they are in solution. The quantum yield of derivatives which have a dimethylamino group in position 7 in polymer matrices approaches 1, and the fluorescence lifetime is within the range of 0.5–4 ns. The high quantum yield of 7-dimethylamino derivatives qualifies them as laser dyes which have kF higher than knr in the given medium. This is caused by stiffening of the coumarin structure in polar polymer matrices, such as PMMA and PVC, due to higher micro-viscosity than in solution and intermolecular dipole-dipole interaction between chromophore (dopant) and matrix.
Keywords: fluorescence; substituted coumarins; solvent effect; polymer matrices fluorescence; substituted coumarins; solvent effect; polymer matrices
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Donovalová, J.; Cigáň, M.; Stankovičová, H.; Gašpar, J.; Danko, M.; Gáplovský, A.; Hrdlovič, P. Spectral Properties of Substituted Coumarins in Solution and Polymer Matrices. Molecules 2012, 17, 3259-3276.

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