Reversible Switching Based on Truly Intramolecular Long-Range Proton Transfer─Turning the Theoretical Concept into Experimental Reality

Herein, we demonstrate a working prototype of a conjugated proton crane, a reversible tautomeric switching molecule in which truly intramolecular long-range proton transfer occurs in solution at room temperature. The system consists of a benzothiazole rotor attached to a 7-hydroxy quinoline stator. According to the experimental and theoretical results, the OH proton is delivered under irradiation to the quinolyl nitrogen atom through a series of consecutive proton transfer and twisting steps. The use of a rigid rotor prevents undesired side processes that decrease the switching performance in previously described proton cranes and provides an unprecedented switching efficiency and fatigue resistance. The newly designed system confirms the theoretical concept for the application of proton transfer-initiated intramolecular twisting as the switching mechanism, developed more than 10 years ago, and provides unique insights for the further development of tautomeric molecular switches and motors, molecular logic gates, and new molecular-level energy storage systems.

The original article in Journal of The American Chemical Society: here.


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