The position of the methoxy group in a poly(n
-methoxy-2-ethynylnaphthalene) (PnMeO2EN) was found to control the helical pitch of the π-conjugated polymer in the solid state. These PnMeO2ENs were stereoregularly synthesized using an Rh-complex catalyst in ethanol or toluene as the solvent. The helical structure in the solid phase was confirmed by conventional analytical methods, namely diffuse reflective ultraviolet–visible light (UV–Vis) and Raman spectroscopies, X-ray diffraction, and 13
C cross-polarization magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy, together with molecular mechanics calculations, because the as obtained polymers were insoluble in common solvents. The color of poly(6-methoxy-2-ethynylnaphthalene) (P6MeO2EN) (yellow or red) depended on the polymerization solvent, whereas no such dependency was observed for the yellow-colored P7MeO2EN and P8MeO2EN. The helical structures energetically optimized by molecular mechanics indicate that the red- and yellow-colored P6MeO2ENs form contracted and stretched helices, respectively. Due to the relatively unconstrained rotations of the 6-methoxynaphthyl moieties, the methoxy groups in P6MeO2EN are less sterically hindered along the helical axis. On the contrary, P7MeO2EN and P8MeO2EN have stretched helices due to the considerable steric hindrance imparted by their methoxy groups. The thermal cis
isomerization of P6MeO2EN in the contracted-helix form required a somewhat higher temperature than that of the stretched helix.
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