The impact of solvent polarity on intramolecular proton and electron transfer in 2-alkylamino-4-nitro-5-methyl pyridine N-oxides

A. Szemik-Hojniak*, Łukasz Wiśniewski, Irena Deperasińska, Artur Makarewicz, Lucjan Jerzykiewicz, Aniela Puszko, Yuval Erez, Dan Huppert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The crystal structure of 2-butylamino-4-nitro-5-methyl pyridine N-oxide (2B5M) and solution studies of both 2B5M and 2-methylamino-4-nitro-5-methyl pyridine (2M5M) N-oxide are presented. Steady-state absorption and emission measurements were employed for both molecules while a picosecond fluorescence up-conversion technique was used to follow the dynamic behavior of the 2M5M system. The experimental methods were complemented by DFT and TD DFT B3LYP/6-31G(d,p) calculations involving ground and excited-state optimization which in the case of the smaller 2M5M molecule were extended to the CAM-B3LYP/6-31G(d,p) method. The solvent effect is incorporated by applying the polarizable continuum (PCM) model. The data reveal that the 2B5M molecule crystallizes in the monoclinic space group P2 1/c and its crystal lattice is composed of monomers with intramolecular N-H⋯O [2.572(3) ] hydrogen bonds, connected into a polymer network by weak intermolecular C-H...O [3.2-3.4 ]-type interactions. Quantum-chemical calculations show that the aminoalkyl substitutent in aminoalkyl-pyridine N-oxides is a specific determinant of the CT nature of the lowest-lying excited electronic ππ* state, distinguishing them from other nitroaromatic compounds. The results of both picosecond fluorescence up-conversion experiments in different solvents and quantum-chemical calculations suggest that in nonpolar media the ESIPT process in 2M5M is favored, while in polar acetonitrile, the N* → PT* transition demands barrier-crossing and thus unfavorable thermodynamic conditions do not allow the ESIPT to occur. The signals of picosecond fluorescence up-conversion of 2M5M are solvent- and emission-wavelength dependent. The three time components found in a weakly polar isooctane-dioxane mixture have been attributed to solvation dynamics (∼500 fs), and to relaxation of N* and PT* forms while in acetonitrile, a very rapid fluorescence decay with a time constant (2.3-4.0 ps) indicative of the presence of the normal (N*) form was observed. Much shorter fluorescence lifetimes in alcohols (a few picoseconds) and in D 2O (less than 200 fs) than in aprotic solvents suggest that in protic media, the solvent molecules participate in the ESIPT, bridging between the methylamine group and the N-oxide group of 2M5M.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8147-8159
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2012


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