Apart from the traditional through-bond conjugation (TBC), through-space conjugation (TSC) is gradually proved as another important interaction in photophysical processes, especially for the recent observation of clusteroluminescence from nonconjugated molecules. Herein, simple and nonconjugated triphenylmethane (TPM) and its derivatives with electron-donating and electron-withdrawing groups were synthesized, and their photophysical properties were systematically studied. TPM was characterized with visible clusteroluminescence due to the intramolecular TSC. Experimental and theoretical results showed that the introduction of electron-donating groups into TPM could red-shift the wavelength and increase the efficiency of clusteroluminescence simultaneously, due to the increased electronic density and stabilization of TSC. However, TPM derivatives with electron-withdrawing groups showed inefficient or even quenched clusteroluminescence caused by the vigorous excited-state intramolecular motion and intermolecular photoinduced electron transfer process. This work provides a reliable strategy to manipulate TSC and clusteroluminescence.
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