Design, Synthesis, and Proticity Inclined Conformational Modulation in a Highly Fluorescent Bichromophoric Naphthalimide Derivative: Hint Directed from RICT Perspective

The present study embodies design, <i>in silico</i> DNA interaction, synthesis of benzothiazole containing naphthalimide derivative, 2-(6-chlorobenzo­[d]­thiazol-2-yl)-1<i>H</i>-benzo­[de] isoquinoline-1,3­(2<i>H</i>)-dione (CBIQD) along with its systematic photophysics, solvatochromic behavior, and solvation dynamics using an experimental and theoretical spectroscopic approach. Steady-state dual emission and biexponential fluorescence decay reveals the formation of two different excited species. Ground- and excited-state optimized geometry and the potential-energy curve obtained from DFT and TD-DFT calculation ascertained the existence of nonplanar and planar conformation. When the solvent polarity is changed from nonpolar to protic polar, the feebly emissive emission band highly intensifies probably due to the reversal of n, π*−π, π* emissive state along with consequent modulation of their energy gap that is induced by H-bonding. Excluding nonpolar solvents, in all other solvents, the Stokes shift correlates linearly with orientation polarizability, whereas in water, the story remains intriguing. With photoexcitation, intermolecular H-bonding stimulates the pyramidalization tendency of imide “N” with subsequent conformational change of GS nonplanar geometry to a coplanar one through acceptor rehybridization generating a rehybridized intramolecular charge transfer (RICT) state that caused a dramatic fluorescence upsurge. This allosteric modulation is promoted by excited-state H-bonding dynamics especially in strong H-bond donor water. A close interplay between preferential solvation and the proximity effect is evident in the emission behavior in a benzene (Bn)–ethanol (EtOH) binary mixture. Molecular docking analysis delineates considerable noncovalent sandwiched π–π stacking interactions of CBIQD with the pyrimidine rings as well as with imidazole rings of dG 6 and dG 2 base pairs of B-DNA double helix, which probably suffices the design strategy adopted. Overall, a strategic design to synthesize a highly fluorescent and potential bioactive agent is executed to revolutionize the fluorophore field due its enormous progressive importance in biochemical applications.