Singlet fission has attracted extensive attention from experimentalists and theoreticians due to its ability to improve photovoltaic conversion efficiency. Still, designing singlet fission materials remains challenging. In this work, we explored the relationship between adaptive aromaticity and singlet fission potentials by computationally screening the adaptive aromatic species reported by our group.
According to Hückel’s and Baird’s rules, cyclic species are generally aromatic only either in the lowest singlet state (S0) or in the lowest-lying triplet ππ* excited state (T1). Thus, species with aromaticity both in S0 and T1 states (termed as adaptive aromaticity) are particularly rare. Herein, we carry out density functional theory (DFT) calculations to examine the aromaticity of 16e metallapentalenes containing heteroatoms (N, O).
Osmapentalyne and osmapentalene complexes, now termed as carbolong species, have attracted considerable attention due to their novel structures, reactivities, chelating properties as well as Möbius and adaptive aromaticity. On the other hand, boron monofluoride (BF), a 10-electron diatomic molecule isoelectronic to carbon monoxide (CO), is unstable below 1800°C in the gas phase, and preparation of its metal complex is particularly challenging.
Cyclic molecules with 4n + 2 or 4n electrons are aromatic in the lowest singlet state (S0) or the lowest triplet state (T1) according to Hückel and Baird’s rules. Thus, the design of aromatic species in both the S0 and T1 states (termed as adaptive aromaticity) is particularly challenging. In this work, we demonstrate that metallasilapentalynes show adaptive aromaticity supported by structural, magnetic, and electronic indices, in sharp contrast to metallapentalynes, which exhibit aromaticity in the S0 state only.
Based on Hückel’s and Baird’s rules, species are aromatic either in the lowest singlet state (S0) or the lowest triplet state (T1) only. Thus, species with adaptive aromaticity (with aromaticity in both the S0 and T1 states) is particularly rare. On the other hand, σ-aromaticity in the T1 state has been underdeveloped, let alone adaptive σ-aromaticity. Herein, via various aromaticity indices including NICS, ACID and EDDB, we demonstrate adaptive s-aromaticity in an unsaturated three-membered ring, which is a traditional area dominated by π-aromaticity.
In comparison with the widely recognized π aromaticity, σ aromaticity is a less developed concept in chemistry, especially for unsaturated systems. Moreover, most studies on σ aromaticity have been mainly limited to the ground state of saturated systems; unsaturated species with σ aromaticity in the excited state have never been reported.
Species with adaptive aromaticity are aromatic in the ground and lowest‐lying triplet excited states and they have normally intermediate singlet‐triplet gaps. Few examples of compounds with adaptive aromaticity are known to date, including 16‐valence‐electron (16e) metallapentalenes. A sweeping search could be conducted to discover new members of this group, but efficient designs with an explicit strategy would facilitate the quest for new members of this elusive family.
Discovery of species with adaptive aromaticity (being aromatic in both the lowest singlet and triplet states) is particularly challenging as cyclic species are generally aromatic either in the ground state or in the excited state only according to Hückel’s and Baird’s rules.
Singlet fission (SF) materials hold the potential to increase the power conversion efficiency of solar cells by reducing the thermalization of high-energy excited states. The major hurdle in realizing this potential is the limited scope of SF-active materials with high fission efficiency, suitable energy levels, and sufficient chemical stability.
Adaptive aromaticity in the lowest singlet and triplet states is a rare property found among molecular systems. So far, only osmapentalene and osmapyridinium have been found to possess the adaptive aromaticity. Although it has been confirmed that the pattern of electron excitation is a key factor to achieve the adaptive aromaticity, further investigation of the metal center effect has not yet been made. Ruthenium, another Group 8 transition metal, can form metallacycles similar to the osmium counterparts.