The synthesis and characterization of new Ru(II) and Os(II) complexes of the ligand eilatin (1) are described. The new complexes [Ru(bpy)(eil)(2)](2+) (2), [Ru(eil)(3)](2+) (3), and [Os(eil)(3)](2+) (4) (bpy = 2,2'-bipyridine; eil = eilatin) were synthesized and characterized by NMR, fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry, and elemental analysis. In the series of complexes [Ru(bpy)(x)(eil)(y)()](2+) (x + y = 3), the effect of sequential substitution of eil for bpy on the electrochemical and photophysical properties was examined. The absorption spectra of the complexes exhibit several bpy- and eil-associated pi-pi and metal-to-ligand charge-transfer (MLCT) transitions in the visible region (400-600 nm), whose energy and relative intensity depend on the number of ligands bound to the metal center (x and y). On going from [Ru(bpy)(2)(eil)](2+) (5) to 2 to 3, the d(pi)(Ru) --> pi(eil) MLCT transition undergoes a red shift from 583 to 591 to 599 nm, respectively. Electrochemical measurements performed in dimethyl sulfoxide reveal several ligand-based reduction processes, where each eil ligand can accept up to two electrons at potentials that are significantly anodically shifted (by ca. 1 V) with respect to the bpy ligands. The complexes exhibit near-IR emission (900-1100 nm) of typical (3)MLCT character, both at room temperature and at 77 K. Along the series 5, 2, and 3, upon substitution of eil for bpy, the emission maxima undergo a blue shift and the quantum yields and lifetimes increase. The radiative and nonradiative processes that contribute to deactivation of the excited level are discussed in detail.
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