Rational Design of Triplet Sensitizers for the Transfer of Excited State Photochemistry from UV to Visible

Luke D Elliott*, Surajit Kayal, Michael W. George, Kevin I Booker-Milburn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Time Dependent Density Functional Theory (TD-DFT) has been used to assist the design and synthesis of a series thioxan-thone triplet sensitizers. Calculated energies of the triplet excited state (ET) informed both the type and position of auxo-chromes placed on the thioxanthone core, enabling fine-tuning of the UV-Vis absorptions and associated triplet energies. The calculated results were highly consistent with experimental observation in both the order of the λmax and ET values. The synthesised compounds were then evaluated for their efficacies as triplet sensitizers in a variety of UV and visible light pre-parative photochemical reactions. The results of this study exceeded expectations; in particular [2+2] cycloaddition chemis-try that had previously been sensitized in the UV was found to undergo cycloaddition at 455 nm (blue) with a 2 to 9-fold increase in productivity (g/h) relative to input power. This study demonstrates the ability of powerful modern computational methods to aid the design of successful and productive triplet sensitized photochemical reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14947-14956
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number35
Early online date4 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2020


  • Photochemical reactions
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Absorption
  • Cyclization


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