Excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT)-based solid luminescent materials with multiple hydrogen bond acceptors (HBAs) remain unexplored. Herein, we introduced a family of Janus-type ESIPT chromophores featuring distinctive hydrogen bond (H-bond) selectivity between competitive HBAs in a single molecule. Our investigations showed that the central hydroxyl group preferentially forms intramolecular H-bonds with imines in imine-modified 2-hydroxyphenyl benzothiazole (HBT) chromophores but tethers the benzothiazole moiety in hydrazone-modified HBT chromophores. Imine-derived HBTs generally exhibit higher fluorescence efficiency, while hydrazone-derived HBTs show a reduced overlap between the absorption and fluorescence bands. Quantum chemical calculations unveiled the molecular origins of the biased intramolecular H-bonds and their impact on the ESIPT process. This Janus-type ESIPT chromophore skeleton provides new opportunities for the design of solid luminescent materials.
- Competitive Hydrogen Bond Acceptors
- Excited-State Intramolecular Proton Transfer
- Quantum Chemical Calculations