Sequential Formation of Yellow, Red, and Orange 1-Phenyl-3,3-Biphenylene-Allene Dimers Prior to Blue Tetracene Formation: Helicity Reversal intrans-3,4-Diphenyl-1,2-bis(fluorenylidene)cyclobutane
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1-Phenyl-3,3-biphenyleneallene (2), the base-catalyzed rearrangement product of 9-phenylethynylfluorene (1) yields a yellow, head-to-tail dimer 6 that, upon gentle warming, is converted to the red tail-to-tail isomer trans-3,4-diphenyl-1,2-bis(fluorenylidene)cyclobutane (7), in which the two fluorenylidene moieties severely overlap. The helical sense of the fluorenylidene moieties in 7 matches that of the phenyl substituents, and the interplanar angle between the fluorenylidene moieties is 41 degrees . At 80 degrees C, 6 isomerizes to orange cis-3,4-diphenyl-1,2-bis(fluorenylidene)cyclobutane (8), which at 110 degrees C is converted to orange trans diastereomer 9, whereby the helicity of the overlapping fluorenylidene moieties is reversed from that in 7 such that they are aligned with the ring hydrogen atoms, and the interplanar angle between the fluorenylidene moieties is now 60 degrees . At 180 degrees C, 6 rearranges to dispirodihydrotetracene 3 and blue, electroluminescent diindenotetracene 4, which is readily oxidized to peroxide 5. In the solid state, both 3 and 4 adopt structures with Ci symmetry (only an inversion center) such that the central polycyclic framework is nonplanar. Deprotonation of yellow head-to-tail allene dimer 6 with tBuOK in DMSO and reprotonation with HOAc yields the [1,3]-hydrogen migration product 10, in which the proton originally on the cyclobutane ring is now sited at C9 on the exocyclic fluorenyl substituent. Analogously, deprotonation and reprotonation of orange dimer 9 furnishes [1,3]-hydrogen migration product 11. Side product 17, formed during the synthesis of 1 from 9-phenylethynylfluoren-9-ol, BF3 and Et3SiH, was shown to be a silyl-indene spiro-linked to C9 of fluorene. All products were characterized by NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, and the mechanisms of these interconversions are discussed.
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