Click-Together Azobenzene Dendrons

Click-Together Azobenzene Dendrons

(Parte 1 de 2)

Click-Together Azobenzene Dendrons: Synthesis and Characterization

Xiaoqin Shen,† Hewen Liu,*,†,‡ Yuesheng Li,‡ and Shiyong Liu†

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Joint Laboratory of Polymer Thin Films and Solutions, UniVersity of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230026, China, and State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics and Chemistry, Changchun, P. R. China

ReceiVed December 1, 2007; ReVised Manuscript ReceiVed January 14, 2008

ABSTRACT: We synthesized1,2,3-triazole-linkedazobenzenedendronsof fourgenerations.No protection-deprotection approach was needed during the generation development via click reaction. The photoisomerization of azobenzene dendrons was studied using UV–vis spectra. The cis isomers of these dendrons were more stable than trans isomers in the dark; however, the cis isomers could be quickly converted to trans forms under visible light exposure in seconds. The trans form could change to cis form reversibly by UV irradiation as well.


Macromolecular systems containing photoresponsive units such as azobenzene have attracted a strong interest for their cis–trans photoisomerization phenomena which make many novel optical applications possible, such as reversible optical information storage media,1 optical switches,2 control in LC molecules, etc.3 Many of the systems reported in the literature focus on the incorporationof azobenzenemoleculesinto a linear polymer chain as substituents.4 Among these azobenzene polymers, aminoazobenzenes or the azobenzenes with electrondonor and electron-acceptorsubstituents are of high interest due to improved spectral properties, photoinduced orientation, and birefringence.5

In contrast to linear systems, dendrimers(includingdendrons) have attracted increased attention because of their unidisperse perfect highly branched structures that lead to their globular, void-containing shapes, high solubility, and low viscosity compared to those of linear analogues. The incorporation of a photochromic moiety in dendrimers is very interesting because of the possibility of creating new light-sensitive materials, storage, and optical devices. The periphery of a dendrimer, for example, poly(propyleneimine) dendrimer,6 poly(amidoamine) dendrimer,7 and carbosilane dendrimer,8 have been chemically modified with azobenzene groups, resulting in functioned dendrimers with intriguing photoswitchable properties. Some dendrimerswith photochromicazobenzenecores have also been synthesized, whose reversible cis/trans isomerization has been studied.9

However, to our knowledge, only two classes of dendrimers or dendrons with all-azobenzene repeating units have been reported,10,1 that is, the dendrons of poly(aminoethylbenzoic ester) preparedby Yokoyamaand co-workers10 and poly(benzyl ester) dendrimers prepared by Wang and Advincula.1 These dendrimers with the azobenzene groups throughout the architecture show a novel advantage for nonlinear optical materials and are “intelligent” macromolecules whose molecular shapes and sizes can be changed upon irradiation with UV light. Although dendrimers with throughout azobenzene units are of high interest due to their unique structures and properties, it is tedious to prepare dendrimers using the traditional group protection-deprotection approach. To solve this problem, it requires efficient and versatile chemistry for the preparation of well-defined azobenzene dendrimers.

Very recently, the Huisgen 1,3-dipolarcycloadditionbetween azides and alkynes to yield triazoles, which is often referred to simply as the “click reaction”, has emerged as an efficient covalently linking technique, characterized by extraordinary reliability and functional group tolerance.12 The reaction has recentlybeen widelyutilizedto functionalizesurfaces,polymers, etc. It is also proved to be an efficient approach for the generation of diverse dendritic structures of high purity and in excellent yield.13 Click chemistry is attractive for the synthesis of dendrimers, lying on two points: (1) azides and alkynes are clicked together, and no protection-deprotection approach is needed; (2) a 1,2,3-triazole group is a possible ligand for metal ions and is found to be a proton transport facilitator,14 which can enable new functions for the dendrimers.“Click” dendrimer has been synthesized,15 and recently, Tang et al. conveniently attach highly polar azo chromophore moieties to disubstituted polyacetylene through “click” reaction.16 But triazole-linked azobenzene dendrimers have not been reported yet.

In this paper, we described the details of the growth of dendrons divergently with triazole linkages between each generation, established via repetitive click reactions between alkyneand azidemoieties.Ultimately,the resultingazo dendrons contain the carboxyl group in the core, the azobenzene chromophores, and triazole units in the architectures. Perfect dendrimers can be synthesized from these dendrons by convergent routes.17 However, these dendrons with central carboxylic acid groups seem more suitable for future design of “intelligent” devices, for example, by surface modification or linear-coil self-assembly with photoswitchable properties.18

Experimental Section

1H NMR (300 MHz) and 13C NMR (75 MHz) spectra were recorded on a Bruker 300 NMR instrument,using tetramethylsilane (TMS) as an internal reference. FT-IR spectra were recorded on a Vector-2 FT-IR instrument.

UV–vis absorption spectra were measured on a Shimadzu UV- 2401PC spectrometer. UV irradiation was carried out with 5 W UV lamp with wavelength at 302 nm. Irradiation by visible light was performed using a 23 W Philips day light bulb (>400 nm).

A Micromass GCT orthogonal time-of-flight mass spectrometer

(EI-TOF MS; Manchester, UK) was used to analyze samples with low molecular masses. Average mass accuracy usually was less than 0.001 Da. Samples were introduced to the source by direct insert probe. Electron impact (EI, 70 eV) analysis is routinely run on this instrument.

A Finnigan LCQ Advantage MAX LC/MS/MS ion trap mass spectrometer (ESI-MS; Thermo Finnigan, San Jose, CA) was used in the electrospray ionization (ESI) mode. The spray voltage was

* Corresponding author. E-mail:

† University of Science and Technology of China. ‡ State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics and Chemistry.

10.1021/ma7027566 C: $40.75 2008 American Chemical Society Published on Web 02/29/2008

2.4 kV with a current of about 20 mA. Samples were introduced to the source by direct insert probe.

Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectra were measured on a Bruker Daltonics BIFLEX MALDITOF mass spectrometer (MALDI-TOF MS; Bruker Daltonics, Germany) equipped with a 337 nm nitrogen laser and a 1.2 m linear flight path in positive ion mode.

Synthesis of N,N-Bis(2-hydroxyethyl)aniline (1). A roundbottom flask was charged with aniline (9.3 g, 0.1 mol) and 2-chlorohydrin (20.0 g, 0.25 mol) and then refluxed while 10% water solution of sodium hydroxide (80 mL) was slowly added. The reaction was monitored by thin layer chromatography (TLC). After the reaction has completed, the mixture was cooled to room temperature. The oil layer was gathered, and the water layer was further extracted with ether (3 × 50 mL). The organic layers were combined, and the solvents were removed by rotary evaporation. The crude product was distilled under a pressure of 15 mmHg at 228 °C to give compound 1 (15.6 g, 86% yield). 1H NMR (300

Synthesisof N,N-Bis(2-chloroxyethyl)aniline(2). 1 (7.6 g, 42.5 mmol) was slowly added into phosphorus oxychloride (8.36 mL) with ice bath. After the addition was completed, the mixture was heated at 110 °C for 1 h. After being cooled to room temperature, the solution was then poured into ethyl acetate (50 mL). After repeatedlywashed with water and dried over anhydrousmagnesium sulfate, the crude product was purified by silica gel chromatography eluted with petroleum ether/ ethyl acetate (9/1) to give compound

Synthesis of 4-Carboxy-4′-[bis(2-chloroethyl)amino]azobenzene (G-1).The diazoniumsalt (compound3) as preparedby adding a solution of sodium nitrite (2.166 g, 31.4 mmol) in water (15 mL) to a solution of p-aminobenzoic acid (4.242 g, 31 mmol) in water (60 mL) containing concentrated hydrochloric acid (9 mL) was added to a solution of 2 (6.600 g) in ethanol (225 mL). After 1 h at room temperature, red precipitates were collected and washed several times with water. The crude product was purified by recrystallization from 2-methoxyethaol to give compound G-1 (9.125g, 82% yield).IR: 3448,30–3000,3066,2960,2926,2850, 1681, 1598, 1510, 1421, 1393, 1347, 1316, 1248, 1137, 921, 867,

7.85 (d, 2H, m-ArH to NCH2), 6.9 (d, 2H, o-ArH to NCH2), 3.89 (d, 4H, NCH2), 3.84 (d, 4H, NCH2CH2). EI-TOF MS: calcd for

(3.662 g, 10.0 mmol) in THF (50 mL) was added propynol (80% in toluene) (0.701 g, 10.0 mmol), 4-(dimethylamino)pyridine (DMAP)(0.244g, 2.0 mmol),and dicyclohexylcarbodiimide(DCC) (2.120 g, 10.3 mmol) in dichloromethane (50 mL). The mixture was stirred at room temperature for 2 days. The reaction mixture was filtered to remove the precipitated dicyclohexylurea and was vacuum-dried. The crude product was purified by silica gel chromatography eluted with petroleum ether/ethyl acetate (10/1) to give compound 4 (2.526 g, 62.5% yield). IR: 3440, 30–3000, 2956, 2920, 2850, 1717, 1623, 1599, 1543, 1510, 1395, 1392, 1363, 1346, 1288, 1261, 1134, 1090, 1024, 801 cm-1. 1H NMR (300

ic Acid, (N3)2-G-1. A round-bottom flask was charged with NaN3 (0.103 g, 1.584 mmol), DMSO (3 mL), and compound G-1 (0.182 g, 0.495 mmol). The reaction was allowed to stir in a 90 °C oil bath overnight, and then the solution was poured into dilute HCl solution under agitation. The precipitate was collected and washed several times with water and then dried under vacuum: yield 0.184 g (98%). IR: 3436, 30–3000, 2956, 2920, 2850, 2099, 16828, 1597, 1549, 1511, 1417, 1394, 1369, 1349, 1293, 1263, 1136, 1108,

Synthesis of G-2. A round-bottom flask was charged with (N3)2- G-1 (0.160 g, 0.422 mmol), DMSO (2 mL), and 4 (0.360 g, 0.886 mmol), followed by sodium ascorbic acid (0.042 g, 0.212 mmol) and CuSO4·5H2O (0.021 g, 0.084 mmol). The reactionwas allowed to stir at room temperaturefor 2 days. The reaction was precipitated into dilute HCl solution, and then the solid was washed several times with water and then vacuum-dried. The crude product was dissolved in THF and eluted on a silica gel column with dichloromethane to remove excess monomer 4, and then the eluent was changed to tetrahydrofuran/dichloromethane (2/8): isolated yield 0.541g (90%).IR: 3444,30–3000,3066,2956,2920,2850,1708,

1H NMR (300 MHz, δ ppm, DMSO-d6): 8.30 (s, 2H, triazole), 8.02 (d, 6H, o-ArH to COO), 7.81 (q, 8H, m-ArH to NCH2 and COO in G-2), 7.75 (d, 4H, m-ArH to NCH2 and COO in G-1), 6.94 (d, 4H, o-ArH to NCH2 in G-2), 6.79 (d, 2H, o-ArH to NCH2 in G-1), 5.39(s, 4H, COOCH2), 4.59(t, 4H, triazole-CH2CH2N), 3.87-3.82 (broad q, 20H, NCH2CH2Cl, triazole-CH2CH2N). 13C NMR (75


Results and Discussion

Synthesesof Triazole-BridgedAzobenzeneDendrons.The first generation azobenzene dendron, G-1, designed to present two chloride groups available for quantitative formation of the desired azido groups, was synthesized by the azo coupling reaction, as illustrated in Scheme 1. After esterification of G-1 with propynol, the compound 4 was crafted to contain two chloroethylgroups and one alkyne group available to participate in click reactionsduring the generationgrowth steps. After azido substitution of the chloride groups of G-1, (N3)2-G-1 was formed. Click reactions between azides of (N3)2-G-1 and the alkyne of compound 4 resulted in the second generation G-2, whose structure is illustrated in Scheme 2. Dendrimer growth then proceeded via an iterative sequence that involved click reactions between the growing azide-terminated dendrons with the alkyne-functionalized compound 4, until the fourth generation dendron (G-4) was obtained (Scheme 3). No protection and deprotection chemistry was needed during generation

Scheme 1. Synthesis of the First Generation Dendron (G-1) 2422 Shen et al. Macromolecules, Vol. 41, No. 7, 2008

development.The click reaction were conducted in the presence of Cu(I) generated in situ from CuSO4·5H2O and sodium ascorbicacid, to give only 1,4-disubstituted1,2,3-triazolesrather than a mixture with the corresponding 1,5-disubstituted isomer.

The structure of each generation dendron was thoroughly characterizedby NMR spectroscopy.The triazole proton of G-2 in DMSO-d6 gave rise to a single peak at 8.30 ppm in 300 MHz 1H NMR. However, in higher generations, triazole protons located at different layers caused small changes in chemical shifts. The resonant peaks of the azobenzene units in G-2, G-3, and G-4 were apparent in region 8.02–6.68 ppm, contrasted to region 8.10–6.95 ppm for that in G-1. Separate resonances were observed apparently at 6.95 and 6.68 ppm for the o-ArH to

NCH2 of azobenzenegroups respectivelyat exterior and interior of dendrimers. New resonances caused by the formation of triazoles were observed at about 8.29 ppm and around 4.59 ppm for triazole proton and triazole-CH2CH2N, respectively, as the second, third, and fourth generation dendrimers formed. The relative integration ratios of triazole-CH2CH2N (4.59 ppm) vs triazole-CH2CH2N and NCH2CH2Cl (in region3.8–3.82ppm)

Scheme 2. Structures of G-2 and G-3 Scheme 3. Structure of G-4

Macromolecules, Vol. 41, No. 7, 2008 Click-Together Azobenzene Dendrons 2423

were a useful diagnostic tool for charactering the generation progression of the dendrons. The ratios increased as the generation of dendrons grew, such as with 4:20 for G-2, 12:4 for G-3, and 28:92 for G-4.

Theexactmolecularweights(MW)ofdendronsweremeasured bymassspectroscopy.TheMALDI-TOFmassspectrummeasured for dendrimersG-3 and G-4 showed the expected [M + Na]+ ion at m/z ) 2856.2 and 6142.4, respectively (Figures 3 and 4, respectively), while the ESI-MS measured for G-2 showed the M+ ion at 18.19. The MWs of all dendrons are summarized in Table 1. All the experimental results were in good agreement with the expected molecular weights for the structures.

Photoisomerization.Azobenzene undergoes mutual isomerization between the cis and trans isomers. Though the trans form of the azobenzene molecule is thermodynamically more stable and thereforethe cis form obtained by photoisomerization will return to the trans form in the absence of the actinic light, however, some reverse cases have also been reported; for example, the cis forms in an amido azobenzenesulfonate and a dumbbell-shaped azobenzene with bulky substituents were surprisingly stable in the dark.19

UV–vis spectroscopy was used to characterize the photoisomerization of the azobenzene dendrons synthesized in this work. Figure 3 shows the UV–vis spectra of G-4 in THF solutions after exposure to varying conditions of UV irradiation at 302 nm (Figure3a) or visiblelight (Figure3b). The absorption band at about 361.5 nm is attributed to the π f π* transition in trans isomer and the band at 425 nm to the n f π* transition in cis isomer. The n f π* band in the azodendrimers synthesized is much stronger than that in a simple azobenzene molecule due to the hyperchromic effect of amine groups. In Figure 3a, the sample solution having stored in the dark for

20 h (exposure time ) 0 with absorbance of A0) gained the curve with the characteristic of pure cis isomer. However, exposure to visible light caused the cis f trans isomerization, resulting in a progressive increase in the intensity of the 361.5 nm absorption band and a progressive decrease in the 460 nm absorptionband, with a photostationarystate (PSS) reachedafter about 10 s. UV irradiation at 302 nm caused a reverse isomerization(trans to cis) as noted by the decrease of the 361.5 nm band and increase of the 425 nm band, with a photostationary state reached after about 2 min (Figure 3b). The sample could also reach its initial state as the cis form in 20 h at darkness though a thermal isomerization process. We used the ratio of AtransfcisPSS/A0 to characterize the UV isomerization efficiency of different dendrons, where AtransfcisPSS/A0 is the absorbance at the photostationary state of UV induced trans- to-cisisomerization process, and A0 is the absorbance maximum of the sample in 20 h in darkness. The results are listed in Table

1. For G-4, the photoisomerization efficiency was about 0.83. The cis form of the azobenzene dendron was more stable than the trans form in the dark. Qualitatively, similar results have been obtained for all the dendrons. As the generations of dendrons increased, the band due to the π f π* transition shifted to a shorter wavelength; however, the band due to the n f π* transition appeared at longer wavelength. The transto-cis photoisomerization efficiency was getting lower as the generations of dendrons increased, perhaps due to hindrance of condensed structures (Table 1).

Figure 4 shows the UV irradiation and visible light exposure time dependences of the absorbance at 460 nm for G-4 in a dilute solution. The ordinate was normalized by the value of absorbance at zero time in the dark (A0). The absorbance value at 460 nm exponentially decayed with increasing visible light exposure time during the cis f trans transition or exponentially increased with UV irradiation time during the trans f cis transition. The photoisomerization proceeded on the first-order reaction. Hence, the experimental results were fitted by

The cis f trans transition in G-4 showed τ1 of 3.8 s; however, τ2 for trans f cis transition is about 25.6 s under the conditions of this work. The τ1 and τ2 values of other dendrons are listed in Table 1.

In summary,we have synthesized1,2,3-triazole-linkedazobenzene dendrons of four generations by click reaction. No protection-deprotection approach was needed in the synthesis via click reaction. Furthermore, the 1,2,3-triazole group could enable more novel functionsfor the dendrons.The isomerization was studied using UV–vis spectra. These dendrons had much strengthened n f π* absorbance that facilitated photoactivated cis f trans transition. The cis isomers of these dendrons were more stable than trans isomers in the dark; however, the cis isomers could be quickly converted to trans forms under visible light exposure in seconds. The trans form could change to cis form by UV irradiation as well. Both cis f trans and trans f cis phototransitionprocesses obeyed the first-order kinetics. The differencesof characteristickinetictimes and photoisomerization efficiency between G-1 and G1, G-2, and G-3 were legible, perhaps due to the introduction of triazole linkages.

The cis forms of these dendrons were stable in the dark, however, and showed very short photoactivated lifetime of cis forms. Therefore, it might be possible to make fast digital nanoscale switches based on our findings. Azobezene with short cis lifetime and strengthenedn f π* absorbance thus facilitated

Figure 1. MALDI-TOF mass spectrum of G-3.

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