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A new family of homo- and heterobimetallic Ru(II) and Os(II) complexes derived from a pyrenyl-biimidazolate spacer act as efficient DNA-binding probes in the NIR domain.
We report in this work a new family of homo- and heterobimetallic complexes of the type [(bpy)2M(Py-Biimz)M′II(bpy)2]2+ (M = M′ = RuII or OsII; M = RuII and M′ = OsII) derived from a pyrenyl-biimidazole-based bridge, 2-imidazolylpyreno[4,5-d]imidazole (Py-BiimzH2). The homobimetallic Ru(II) and Os(II) complexes were found to crystallize in monoclinic form with space group P21/n. All the complexes exhibit strong absorptions throughout the entire UV–vis region and also exhibit luminescence at room temperature. For osmium-containing complexes (2 and 3) both the absorption and emission band stretched up to the NIR region and thus afford more biofriendly conditions for probable applications in infrared imaging and phototherapeutic studies. Detailed luminescence studies indicate that the emission originates from the respective 3MLCT excited state mainly centered in the [M(bpy)2]2+ moiety of the complexes and is only slightly affected by the pyrene moiety. The bimetallic complexes show two successive one-electron reversible metal-centered oxidations in the positive potential window and several reduction processes in the negative potential window. An efficient intramolecular electronic energy transfer is found to occur from the Ru center to the Os-based component in the heterometallic dyad. The binding studies of the complexes with DNA were thoroughly studied through different spectroscopic techniques such as UV–vis absorption, steady-state and time-resolved emission, circular dichroism, and relative DNA binding study using ethidium bromide. The intercalative mode of binding was suggested to be operative in all cases. Finally, computational studies employing DFT and TD-DFT were also carried out to interpret the experimentally observed absorption and emission bands of the complexes.
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