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J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Aug 20;136(33):11805-12. doi: 10.1021/ja5062856. Epub 2014 Aug 7.

Locked ortho- and para-core chromophores of green fluorescent protein; dramatic emission enhancement via structural constraint.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Center for Emerging Material and Advanced Devices, National Taiwan University , Taipei 10617, Taiwan, R.O.C.


We report the design strategy and synthesis of a structurally locked GFP core chromophore p-LHBDI, its ortho-derivative, o-LHBDI, and H2BDI possessing both para- and ortho-hydroxyl groups such that the inherent rotational motion of the titled compounds has been partially restricted. o-LHBDI possesses a doubly locked configuration, i.e., the seven-membered ring hydrogen bond and five-membered ring C(4-5-10-13-14) cyclization, from which the excited-state intramolecular proton transfer takes place, rendering a record high tautomer emission yield (0.18 in toluene) and the generation of amplified spontaneous emission. Compared with their unlocked counterparts, a substantial increase in the emission yield is also observed for p-LHBDI and H2BDI in anionic forms in water, and accordingly the structure versus luminescence relationship is fully discussed based on their chemistry and spectroscopy aspect. In solid, o-LHBDI exhibits an H-aggregate-like molecular packing, offers narrow-bandwidth emission, and has been successfully applied to fabricate a yellow organic light emitting diodes (λmax = 568 nm, ηext = 1.9%) with an emission full width at half-maximum as narrow as 70 nm.

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