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© 2017 American Chemical Society. A series of push-pull BODIPYs bearing multiple electron-donating and electron-acceptor groups were synthesized regioselectively from 2,3,5,6,8-pentachloro-BODIPY, and characterized by NMR spectroscopy, HRMS, and X-ray crystallography. The influence of the push-pull substituents on the spectroscopic and electrochemical properties of BODIPYs was investigated. Bathochromic shifts were observed for both absorbance (up to 37 nm) and emission (up to 60 nm) in different solvents upon introduction of the push-pull moieties. DFT calculations, consistent with the spectroscopic and cyclic voltammetry studies, show decreased HOMO-LUMO energy gaps upon the installation of the push-pull moieties. BODIPY 7 bearing thienyl groups on the 2 and 6 positions showed the largest λmax for both absorption (635-653 nm) and emission (706-707 nm), but also the lowest fluorescence quantum yields. All BODIPYs were nontoxic in the dark (IC50 > 200 μM) and showed low phototoxicity (IC50 > 100 μM, 1.5 J/cm2) toward human HEp2 cells. Despite the relatively low fluorescence quantum yields, the push-pull BODIPYS were effective for cell imaging, readily accumulating within cells and localizing mainly in the ER and Golgi. Our structure-property studies can guide future design of functionalized BODIPYs for various applications, including bioimaging and in dye-sensitized solar cells.

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Journal of Organic Chemistry

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