Transition metal-catalyzed and organocatalytic reactions are indispensable components in the toolbox of organic chemistry. Catalytic methods for the formation of bonds between inorganic elements are significantly less well developed.
We have developed a highly efficient and environmentally benign B—C bond formation method based on an organocatalytic Si/B exchange reaction, which proved to be a general route to donor—acceptor type conjugated organoborane polymers. Compared to previous routes, our approach uses less toxic and more cost-effective starting materials. Moreover, in some cases the polycondensation may be performed as an AB type process, in which a difunctional monomer is isolated and subsequently polymerized in a controlled manner. Such approaches are extremely desirable as their success is not dependent on the exact stoichiometry of two components.
A. Lik, S. Jenthra, L. Fritze, L. Müller, K.-N. Truong, H. Helten, Chem. Eur. J. 2018, accepted [DOI] ("Very Important Paper").
Using this new method, we have prepared a series of arylborane molecules, oligomers, and polymers. Through variation of the furan-to-thiophene ratio, the photophysical properties of these materials are effectively modulated. They are furthermore attractive targets for chemical sensory applications. Binding of fluoride anions is effectively signaled by an optical response.