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Visible Light‐fueled Mechanical Motions with Dynamic Phosphorescence Induced by Topochemical [2+2] Reactions in Organoboron Crystals

In the quest for essential energy solutions towards an ecological friendly future, the efficient transformation of visible light/solar energy into mechanical motions in metal-free luminescent crystals offers a sustainable choice of smart materials for lightweight actuating, sensing, and all-organic electronic devices. Such green energy-triggered photodynamic motions with room temperature phosphorescence (RTP) emission in molecular crystals have not been reported yet. Here, we demonstrate three new stoichiometrically different Lewis acid-base molecular organoboron crystals (PS1, PS2, and PS3), which exhibit rapid photosalient effects (ballistic splitting, moving, and jumping) under both UV and visible light associated with quantitative single-crystal-to-single-crystal (SCSC) [2+2] cycloaddition of preorganized olefins. Furthermore, these systems respond to sunlight and mobile (white) flashlight with a complete SCSC transformation in a relatively slow fashion. Remarkably, all PS1, PS2, and PS3 crystals display visible light-promoted dynamic green RTP as their emission peaks promptly blue-shift, due to instantaneous photomechanical effects. Time-dependent structural mapping of intermediate photoproducts during fast SCSC [2+2] photoreaction, by X-ray photodiffraction, reveals a rationale for the origin of these photodynamic motions associated with rapid topochemical transformations. The reported light-driven behavior (mechanical motions, dynamic phosphorescence, and topochemical reactivity), is considered advantageous for the strategic design of stimuli-responsive multi-functional crystalline materials.

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